Zeitgeist: The Movie by Peter Joseph - HTML preview
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Isis nursing Horus
applied to many kings and later to various deities, such as Isis, including just
(Musée du Louvre, Paris)
before the supposed existence of Jesus‘s mother, Mary. As Egyptologist Dr.
Alfred Wiedermann, a professor of Oriental Languages at the University of Bonn, remarks:
The Egyptian word Meri means, very generally, ―the loving or the beloved,‖ and serves in this
sense as a title of goddesses, and is as often used as a proper name…58
For more on this subject of the term ―Meri,‖ see Christ in Egypt, pp. 124-138.
His birth was accompanied by a star in the east, and upon his birth he was adored
by three kings.
The very idea that when a person is born a star appears, along with three magi or kings following it to
meet the newborn savior, obviously and logically represents a metaphysical fantasy/mythological event.
Therefore, again, the symbolic relationships are of the greatest interest to us, and here the important
questions thus become: Were Jesus and Horus both associated with a birth star and three ―kings‖ or
magi? Is there a relationship between the birth star and the three kings? The answer to these questions is
a definitive yes, based on scholarship concerning the Horus/Osiris/Ra myths, which we need to recall are
55 Botterweck, II, 338-339.
56 Murdock, CIE, 87-88.
57 Meyer, 152.
58 Proceedings of the Society for Biblical Archaeology, XI, 272.
The theme of the newborn savior being signaled by a star and approached by three ―kings‖ or dignitaries
has multiple mythological meanings, the prominent astrotheological one of which is summarized by
Barbara G. Walker:
Osiris‘s coming was announced by Three Wise Men: the three stars Mintaka, Anilam, and Alnitak
in the belt of Orion, which point directly to Osiris‘s star in the east, Sirius (Sothis), significator of
Star in the East: To understand the ―Star in the East,‖ one first needs to recognize the significance of the
star Sirius or Sothis, as it is called in Greek. In the words of Dr. Allen:
Sothis ( spdt ―Sharp‖). The morning star, Sirius, seen by the Egyptians as a goddess. In Egypt the
star disappears below the horizon once a year for a period of some seventy days; its
reappearance in midsummer marked the beginning of the annual inundation and the Egyptian
year. The star‘s rising was also seen as a harbinger of the sunrise and therefore associated with
Horus in his solar aspect, occasionally specified as Horus in Sothis ( hrw jmj spdt), Sothic Horus
( hrw spdtj), or Sharp Horus ( hrw spd).60
The importance to the Egyptians of Sirius/Sothis, as well as the constellation of Orion, is further explained
by Welsh professor Dr. John Gwyn Griffiths:
...Sothis was the harbinger of the annual inundation of the Nile through her appearance with the
rising sun at the time when the inundation was due to begin. The bright star would therefore
naturally become, together with the conjoined constellation of Orion, the sign and symbol of new
vegetation which the Year then beginning would infallibly bring with it….61
The above birth sequence with Sirius refers not to the winter solstice (as will be discussed later) but to the
summer solstice, signaling the births of Osiris as the Nile inundation and of Horus the Elder, as well as
the Child who is the daily newborn sun. In winter, the ―Three Kings‖ in the belt of Orion pointed to Sirius at
night before the annual birth of the sun, which is also Horus, as the Child.
Three Kings: Again, the ―Three Kings‖ are the stars in Orion‘s belt: ―Mintaka,‖ ―Anilam‖ and ―Alnitak.‖
These stars, along with Sirius, are tied to the cycles of death and rebirth. In the ancient texts, Osiris is
often identified with Orion and these stars. (Remember, Osiris and Horus overlap and can sometimes be
considered one entity in certain contexts.) As Murdock states, "So interchangeable are Osiris and Horus
that there is even a hybrid god Osiris-Horus or Asar-Heru."62
Hieroglyph for Osiris-Horus
(Budge, An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, I, 87)
In the ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts (PT 442:819c-822b/P3863) it reads:
―Look, he is come as Orion,‖ (they say). ―Look, Osiris is come as Orion...‖
The sky shall conceive you with Orion, the morning-star shall give you birth with Orion. Live! Live,
as the gods have commanded you live.
With Orion in the eastern arm of the sky shall you go up, with Orion in the western arm of the sky
shall you go down. Sothis, whose places are clean, is the third of you two: she is the one who will
59 Walker, B., WEMS, 749.
60 Allen, J., 441.
61 Griffiths, OOHC, 157.
62 Murdock, CIE, 56.
63 This numbering method is after that devised by D.M. Murdock in Christ in Egypt. (See Murdock, CIE, p. 36,
Concerning the general relationship between Orion, Sirius and the Egyptian deities, Egyptologist Dr.
Bojana Mojsov states:
The constellation of Orion was linked with Osiris: ―He has come as Orion. Osiris has come as
Orion,‖ proclaim the Pyramid Texts. Sirius and Orion, Isis and Osiris, inseparable in heaven as on
earth, heralded the inundation and the rebirth of life. Their appearance in the sky was a measure
of time and a portent of great magnitude. In historic times, both occasions were always marked
Ancient Egyptian hieroglyph for Orion,
with three-looped string and star
(Budge, Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic
The ―three kings‖ approaching the baby in a manger can also be seen in the ritual of the baby falcon god
Sokar, who was brought out of the temple at the winter solstice and who has been identified with Horus.66
The baby Sokar approached by Ptah-Sokar-Osiris at the winter solstice
(Wilkinson, Manner and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, III, 18;
Murdock, The 2010 Astrotheology Calendar, 34)
At the age of 12, he was a prodigal child teacher, and at the age of 30 he was
baptized by a figure known as Anup and thus began his ministry.
Child Teacher: Regarding Horus‘s role as a ―child teacher in the temple,‖ Murdock relates:
…In the first place, Horus was commonly viewed as the rising sun, during which time, it could be
said, ―He dwelt on earth as mortal Horus in the house of Seb (earth) until he was twelve years of
age.‖ In the solar mythos, the ―age‖ of 12 refers to the sun at high noon, the twelfth hour of the
day, when the ―God Sun‖ is doing his ―heavenly father‘s work‖ in the ―temple‖ or ―tabernacle‖ of
the ―most high.‖ In the Egyptian myth, the child Horus—the rising sun—becomes Re at the ―age‖
of 12 noon, when he moves into his ―Father‘s house,‖ in other words, that of Re and/or Osiris,
who are interchangeable, as we have seen. Indeed, while the sun gods or solar epithets are
interchangeable in and of themselves, in certain texts…Re is specifically named as Horus‘s
father; hence, the relationship here is doubly appropriate. The fact of Horus attaining so quickly to
such maturity certainly may impress his elders, the older suns, as he literally becomes them. To
64 Allen, J., 107.
65 Mojsov, 7.
66 For more information, see Murdock, CIE, 107ff.
put it another way, Horus is the sun from the time it arrives on the horizon until 12 noon, at which
point he becomes Re, the father of the gods and the ―father of Horus‖ as well. It could thus be
said that Horus does his father’s work in the temple at the age of 12.
In The Dawn of Astronomy, [Royal Astronomer Sir Norman] Lockyer describes this process of
Horus becoming Re at the hour or ―age‖ of 12:
We have the form of Harpocrates at its rising, the child sun-god being generally
represented by the figure of a hawk. When in human form, we notice the presence of a
side lock of hair. The god Ra symbolises, it is said, the sun in his noontide strength; while
for the time of sunset we have various names, chiefly Osiris, Tum, or Atmu, the dying sun
represented by a mummy and typifying old age. The hours of the day were also
personified, the twelve changes during the twelve hours being mythically connected with
the sun‘s daily movement across the sky.
The various ―phases‖ of the sun‘s journey were given different personalities, while remaining one
entity. Hence, Horus the Child wears the side lock until 12 noon when he becomes the adult Re.67
Murdock also says:
In the Egyptian story of Khamuas/Khamois found on Papyrus DCIV of the British Museum
appears an interesting tale about Sa-Asar, Si-Osiris or Senosiris—the ―son of Osiris‖—who ―grew
rapidly in wisdom and knowledge of magic.‖ The tale continues: ―When Si-Osiris was twelve
years old he was wiser than the wisest of the scribes.‖ This story includes fantastical elements—
such as a visit to the underworld—that indicate it is not historical but may well revolve around
Horus, son of Osiris. Thus, in Egypt we find a similar tale as in the gospel about the ―son of God‖
who is 12 years old and is precocious in intelligence and knowledge, besting the elders and
Baptism: Baptism in the ancient pre-Christian world, including in Egypt, was common, as related by early
Church father Tertullian (c. 160-c. 220):
For washing is the channel through which [the heathen] are initiated into some sacred rites—of
some notorious Isis or Mithras. The gods themselves likewise they honour by washings.69
In CIE, Murdock discusses the ancient Egyptian purification or baptism:
Concerning the sun god‘s nightly journey back to life, Egyptologist Dr. Jacobus Van Dijk of the
University of Groningen says that ―according to the Pyramid Texts, the sun god purifies himself in
the morning in the Lake of the Field of Rushes.‖ Thus, the morning sun—or Horus—was said to
pass through the purifying or baptismal waters to become reborn, revivified or resurrected.70
Murdock references several Pyramid Texts citing the issue of using a ―Divine Lake‖ to purify.
The Egyptian god Anpu, Anup or ―Anubis,‖ the latter of which is his Greek name, is the Egyptian
precedent for the Christian character John the Baptist. There are many similarities, such as Anubis being
the ―Preparer of the Way of the Other World‖71 and John the Baptist being ―preparer of the way of Christ.‖
As another, Anubis serves as ―purifier‖ or ―baptizer‖ of Egyptian gods and deceased persons, including
both Horus and Osiris.
Concerning the role of Anubis/Anup in Egyptian mythology, lay Egyptologist Gerald Massey states:
The karast is literally the god or person who has been mummified, embalmed, and anointed or
christified. Anup the baptizer and embalmer of the dead for the new life was the preparer of the
karast-mummy. As John the Baptist is the founder of the Christ in baptism, so Anup was the
christifier of the mortal Horus, he on whom the holy ghost descended as a bird when the Osiris
made his transformation in the marriage mystery of Tat tu (Rit., ch. 17). We read in the funeral
67 Murdock, CIE, 214.
68 Murdock, CIE, 213.
69 Tertullian, On Baptism, V , p. 9.
70 Murdock, CIE, 247.
71 Bonwick, 120.
texts of Anup—being ―Suten tu hetep, Anup, neb tser khent neter ta krast-ef em set‖ (Birch,
Funereal Text, 4th Dynasty). ―Suten hept tu Anup tep-tuf khent neter ha am ut neb tser krast ef em
as-ef en kar neter em set Amenta‖ (Birch, Funereal Stele of Ra-Khepr-Ka, 12th Dynasty). Anup
gives embalmment, krast; he is lord over the place of embalmment, the kras; the lord of
embalming (krast), who, so to say, makes the ―krast.‖ The process of embalmment is to make the
mummy. This was a type of immortality or rising again. Osiris is krast, or embalmed and
mummified for the resurrection. Passage into life and light is made for the karast-dead through
the embalmment of the good Osiris (Rit., ch. 162)—that is, through his being karast as the
mummy type. Thus the Egyptian krast was the pre-Christian Christ, and the pictures in the
Roman Catacombs preserve the proof.72
For a detailed discussion of the term ―karast‖ or ―krst,‖ see Murdock, CIE, pp. 313-318.
Regarding Anubis‘s role as not only embalmer but also ―purifier,‖ Murdock remarks:
… as embalmer, Anubis‘s purifying role in mummification is made clear in the fact that he
presides over the ―House of Purification‖ and ―Tent of Purification,‖ the latter called tp-jbw in
Egyptian. In describing the funerary rituals, Dr. Lesko states:
Pouring of water, for its life-giving as well as purification qualities, was part of every ritual.
The corpse, whether first desiccated or not, would have been washed (in the Tent of
Purification) and then anointed and wrapped in the embalmer‘s shop. Seven sacred oils
used for anointing the body are known already in the first dynasty….73
There is much more to this subject, and interested parties are directed to the 28-page chapter ―Anup the
Baptizer‖ in Murdock‘s Christ in Egypt.
Anubis purifying the Osiris
(Renouf, Egyptian Book of the Dead, 51)
Horus had 12 disciples he traveled about with, performing miracles such as
healing the sick and walking on water.
Again, these themes were not all rolled into one in this manner in an ancient text but are put together here
in order to reconstruct the Horus myth, the same as mythographers do with modern encyclopedia entries.
The motifs exist separately in a variety of texts, from which the creators of Christianity evidently drew for
12 Disciples: In Chaldean Magic: Its Origins and Development, French archaeologist Francois
72 Massey, AELW, I, 218. For a discussion of Massey‘s work, which was based on that of the best Egyptologists of
his day, some of whom also reviewed his writings prior to publication, see Christ in Egypt, pp. 13-23.
73 Murdock, CIE, 249.
...The sun of the lower Hemispheres took more especially the name of Osiris. Its companions and
deputies were the twelve of the night personified as so many gods, at the head of which was
placed Horus, the rising sun itself...74
As Murdock says:
The configuration of Re, Osiris or Horus with 12 other individuals, whether gods or men, can be
found abundantly in Egyptian texts, essentially reflecting the sun god with 12 ―companions,‖
―helpers‖ or ―disciples.‖ This theme is repeated numerous times in the nightly passage of the sun:
Like Hercules in his 12 labors, when the Egyptian sun god entered into the night sky, he was
besieged with trials, as found in some of the Egyptian ―Holy Scriptures.‖ One such text is the
―Book of the Amtuat/Amduat,‖ which ―describes the journey of the sun god through the twelve
hours of the night,‖ the term ―Amduat‖ meaning ―underworld‖ or ―netherworld.‖...
Horus is thus firmly associated with 12 ―star-gods,‖ who, in conducting the sun god through his
passage, can be deemed his ―protectors,‖ ―assistants‖ or ―helpers,‖ etc.75
Concerning this motif of Horus and the Twelve, Murdock also states:
...in the tenth hour of the Amduat, Horus the Elder leaning on his staff is depicted as leading the
12 "drowned" or lost souls to their salvation in the "Fields of the Blessed." These 12 deceased,
Hornung relates, are "saved from decay and decomposition by Horus, who leads them to a
blessed posthumous existence..." In this manner, Horus's companions, like the disciples of Jesus,
are meant to "become like gods," so to speak, and to exist forever, reaping eternal life, as do
those who believe in Christ.76
Horus helps the 12 drowned souls ―find their way to the Fields of the Blessed,‖
commanding them as they are being ―deified‖
10th hour of the Amduat
Tomb of Amenophis/Amenhotep II (14th cent. BCE)
(Hornung, Valley of the Kings, 138, 144)
For much more on this subject, see Christ in Egypt, pp. 262-284.
74 Lenormant, 83.
75 Murdock, CIE, 269-271.
76 Murdock, CIE, 271.
Miracles: As in many other religions, the Egyptian gods and goddesses were known to produce miracles,
including healing the sick, ―walking on water‖ and raising the dead. Regarding Horus being associated
with healing, Greek historian of the first century BCE Diodorus Siculus remarks:
They say Horus, in the Greek Tongue, is Apollo, who was taught both medicine and divination by
his mother Isis, and who showers benefits on the race of man through his oracles and his cures.77
Concerning the motif of the god ―commanding the waters,‖ Murdock relates:
In BD [Book of the Dead spell] 62…the deceased, who is Re or Osiris, pleads to have ―command
of the water,‖ saying, ―May I be granted power over the waters…‖
Spel s 57, 58 and 59 of the BD are titled chapters for ―command of water‖ or ―having power over
water,‖ while BD 57 includes the request:
Oh Hapi, Chief of the heaven! in thy name of Conductor of the Heaven, let the Osiris
prevail over the waters...78
Murdock also writes:
The command over water includes the crossing of the ―celestial river‖: ―Upon reaching the sky,
the life-essence of the King approaches the celestial gate and/or the celestial river.‖ When the
king reaches the river with his ―mentor‖ Horus, he requests the god to take him with him: ―Since
Horus has already crossed the river with his father in mythical times…, he can apparently then
cross the river at will.‖79
For much more on these subjects, see Christ in Egypt, pp. 285-308.
Horus the Child on the Metternich Stela
c. 380-342 BCE
(Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY)
―This stele represented the power to protect man
possessed by all the divine beings in the
universe, and, however it was placed, it formed
an impassable barrier to every spirit of evil and
to every venomous reptile.‖
(Budge, Legends of the Egyptian Gods, lxii)
77 Diodorus/Murphy, 31-32.
78 Murdock, CIE, 293.
79 Murdock, CIE, 296-297.
Horus resurrecting Osiris using the cross of eternal life
(Lundy, Monumental Christianity, 403)
Horus was known by many gestural names such as The Truth, The Light, God’s
Anointed Son, The Good Shepherd, The Lamb of God, and many others.
Many Egyptian gods and goddesses held ―sacred titles‖ of one sort or another. For example, in
chapter/spell 125 of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the deceased addresses Osiris as the ―Lord of
Truth,‖ and it is also easy to understand why solar gods would be deemed ―The Light.‖ Following is a
compilation of epithets taken from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, as applied to various deities, including
Osiris, Isis, Horus, Re, Anubis, Thoth and Seb:
Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Lord of Truth, Savior, the Divine, All-Powerful, the Unknowable,
Great God, Lord of All, Inviolate God, God of Justice, Lord of Justice, Lord of Right, Lord of
Prayer... Son of the Great One... Lord of Light... The Giver of Light, Lord of the Horizon, Lord of
Daylight, Lord of the Sunbeams, Soul of his father, Lord of Years, Lord of the Great Mansion...80
Concerning the Egyptian ―savior,‖ Murdock states:
…according to the hymns some 1,400 years before the purported advent of Christ, the sun is the
―unique shepherd, who protects his flock,‖ also serving as a ―savior.‖ In the Coffin Texts appears
another mention of the Egyptian god as ―savior,‖ as in CT Sp. 155, in which the speaker
specifically defines himself as a god and also says, ―Open to me, for I am a saviour…‖ In CT Sp.
847, the deceased—who at times is Osiris and/or Horus—is the ―Saviour-god.‖…81
Regarding Horus‘s other epithets, William R. Cooper relates:
The very first of the chief epithets applied to Horus in this, his third great office, has a startlingly
Christian sound; it is the ―Sole begotten son of the Father,‖ to which, in other texts, is added,
―Horus the Holy Child,‖ the ―Beloved son of his father.‖ The Lord of Life, the Giver of Life [are
also] both very usual epithets...the ―Justifier of the Righteous,‖ the ―Eternal King‖ and the ―Word of
the Father Osiris.‖…
...very many of the essential names and attributes of Horus were attributed to Ra, Tum, and the
other deities also, they were alike ―self-created,‖ ―born of a Virgin,‖ ―deliverers of mankind,‖ ―only
The epithet of ―God’s Anointed Son‖ is a combination of Horus being called ―Anointed‖ and ―Beloved
son‖ of his father, Osiris, this latter epithet being very common in the Pyramid Texts.83 As an example of
Horus‘s anointed or christed state, Pyramid text W 51/PT 77:52a-b says:
80 See Murdock, CIE, 329-320.
81 Murdock, CIE, 310.
82 Cooper, 22, 76-77.
Ointment, ointment, where should you be? You on Horus‘s forehead, where should you be? You
were on Horus‘s forehead...84
Concerning the god as ―Good Shepherd,‖ Murdock also remarks:
In BD [Book of the Dead spell] 142 appears a long ―List of the Forms and Shrines of Osiris,‖ with
over 140 epithets for the god, including the ―Protector‖ or ―Shepherd‖—Asar-Saa. The sun god Re
too was the ―good shepherd,‖ and Horus‘s ―Good Shepherd‖ role is made clear in the Pyramid
Texts as well, for example, at PT 690:2106a-b/N 524: ―O King, stand up for Horus, that he may
make you a spirit and guide you when you ascend to the sky.‖
―Horus,‖ in other words, the king, is called ―the good shepherd‖ also in the third inscription at the
Temple of ―Redesiyeh‖ or El-Radesia at Wady Abad, near Edfu in Upper Egypt. As Lundy says,
―The royal Good Shepherd is the antitype of Horus...‖ The idea of the Horus-king as the ―good
shepherd,‖ in fact, was so important that it constituted a major shift in perception and public
policy, representing the general mentality of the 11th and 12th Dynasties (c. 2050-1800 BCE). As
remarked upon by Egyptologist Dr. John A. Wilson, a director of the Oriental Institute at the
University of Chicago, ―The concept of the good shepherd rather than the distant and lordly owner
of the flocks shifted the idea of kingship from possession as a right to responsibility as a duty.‖85
Regarding the ―Lamb of God‖ epithet, Massey explains:
...In the text Horus is addressed as the ―Sheep, son of a sheep; Lamb, son of a lamb,‖ and
invoked in this character as the protector and saviour of souls...Horus is the lamb of God the
father, and is addresses by the name of the lamb who is the protector of savior of the dead in the
earth and Amenti.86
After being “betrayed” by Typhon, Horus was “crucified,” buried for three days,
and thus, resurrected.
It needs to be reiterated here that the ancient texts did not necessarily spell out the myths in a linear
fashion, resembling a story following a certain timeframe. Mythical motifs found disparately in the ancient
Egyptian texts are combined in this paragraph, as they are in modern encyclopedia entries. While some
might be critical of this manner of unfolding in the movie, it should be understood that the premise of the
entire section (―Zeitgeist,‖ Part 1) concerns how symbolic characteristics were taken from the Egyptian
religion and infused into Christianity, as a natural flow of religious evolution across various seemingly
independent doctrines. Hence, the linear nature of such points becomes less important than the symbols
they represent—especially when all the evidence and the context of astrotheology are taken into
Also, it is important to remember the ―hybrid‖ nature of the Egyptian gods and how multiple names are
given to the same entity (i.e., Horus/Osiris hybrid). As Murdock explains:
As we explore the original Egyptian mythos and ritual upon which much of Christianity was
evidently founded, it needs to be kept in mind that the gods Osiris and Horus in particular were
frequently interchangeable and combined, as in ―I and the Father are one.‖ (Jn 10:30)87
Along the same lines, Egyptologist Dr. Samuel C. Sharpe remarks:
The long list of gods...again further increased in two ways. The priests sometimes made a new
god by uniting two or three or four into one, and at other times by dividing one into two or three, or
more. Thus out of Horus and Ra they made Horus-Ra, called by the Greeks Aroeris. Out of Osiris
and Apis the bull of Memphis, the priests of Memphis made Osiri-Apis or Serapis. He carries the
two sceptres of Osiris, and has a bull‘s head... Out of Amun-Ra and Ehe the bull of Heliopolis, the
priests of the East of the Delta made Amun-Ra-Ehe. To this again they added a fourth character,
83 Faulkner, EBD, pl. 33, 110; Allen, J., AEPT, 36. (E.g., PT 20:11a; PT 219:179b; PT 369:644c; PT 510:1130c; PT
540:1331b; W 152)
84 Allen, J., AEPT, 22.
85 Murdock, CIE, 312.
86 Massey, NG, II, 471,
87 Murdock, CIE, 67-68.
that of Chem, and made a god Amun-Ra-Ehe-Chem. Out of Kneph the Spirit, and Ra the Sun,
they made Kneph-Ra. Out of Sebek and Ra, they made Sebek-Ra. In this way the Egyptians
worshipped a plurality in unity.88
Betrayed by Typhon: The Typhon figure is also known as Set/Seth, the god of desert and darkness who
betrays his brother, Osiris, and who is depicted in the Pyramid Texts as battling with Horus, who avenges
his father. In later texts, Seth is said to have sent a snake or scorpion to sting and kill Horus, as on the
Metternich Stela89 (c. 380-342 BCE) and other such ―cippi‖ or magical stele.
Recounting another myth in which Horus is drowned, Diodorus ( Antiquities of Egypt, 1.25.6) describes the
god‘s raising or resurrection by Isis, using the same term, anastasis, later employed to describe Jesus‘s
Isis also discovered the elixir of immortality, and when her son Horus fell victim to the plots of the
Titans and was found dead beneath the waves, she not only raised him from the dead and
restored his soul, but also gave him eternal life.90
The similarity of the Osiris-Set conflict with that of the Jesus-Satan battle is highlighted by historian Dr.
Philip Van Ness Myers:
The god Seth, called Typhon by the Greek writers, was the Satan of later Egyptian mythology. He
was the personification of the evil in the world, just as Osiris was the personification of the good.91
For more on the contention between Horus and Set, see Christ in Egypt, pp. 67-78.
Horus Crucified: The ―crucifixion‖ of Horus is misunderstood because many erroneously assume that the
term denotes a direct resemblance to the crucifixion narrative of Jesus Christ. Hence, it is critical to point
out that we are dealing with metaphors here, not ―history,‖ as the ―crucifixions‖ of both Horus and Jesus
are improvable events historically.
The issue at hand is not a man being thrown to the ground and nailed to a cross, as Jesus is depicted to
have been, but the portrayal of gods and goddesses in “cruciform,” whereby the divine figure appears
with arms outstretched in a symbolic context. The word ―crucify‖ comes from the Latin crucifigere,
composed of cruci/crux and affigere/figere, meaning ―cross‖ and ―to fix/affix,‖ respectively. Thus, it does
not necessarily mean to throw a living person to the ground and nail him or her to a cross, but could
signify any image affixed to a cross-shape or in cruciform. This symbolic imagery of a person on a cross
or in cross-shape was fairly common in the Pagan world, concerning many gods, goddesses and other
First of all, the cross was a very ancient pre-Christian symbol that often designated the sun. Regarding
the cross, the Catholic Encyclopedia (―Cross and the Crucifix‖) states:
The sign of the cross, represented in its simplest form by a crossing of two lines at right angles,
greatly antedates, in both the East and the West, the introduction of Christianity. It goes back to a
very remote period of human civilization....
...It is also...a symbol of the sun...and seems to denote its daily rotation.... Cruciform objects have
been found in Assyria. Shari people in Egypt wearing crucifixes around their necks. The statutes
of Kings Asurnazirpal and Sansirauman, now in the British Museum, have cruciform jewels about
the neck.... Cruciform earrings were found by Father Delattre in Punic tombs at Carthage.
Another symbol which has been connected with the cross is the ansated cross (ankh or crux
ansata) of the ancient Egyptians.... From the earliest times also it appears among the
hieroglyphic signs symbolic of life or of the living... perhaps it was originally, like the swastika, an
astronomical sign. The ansated cross is found on many and various monuments of Egypt.... In
88 Sharpe, 12.
89 See, e.g., te Velde, 37-38.
90 Diodorus/Murphy, 31. See also Murdock, CIE, 388.
91 Van Ness Myers, 38.
later times the Egyptian Christians (Copts), attracted by its form, and perhaps by its symbolism,
adopted it as the emblem of the cross...92
Fortunately, many ancient artifacts survive that demonstrate the antiquity not only of the cross but also of
a human figure in the shape of a cross or in cruciform.
Crosses on the bottoms of
c. 6th-5th cent. BCE?
Golasecca, Italy (Seymour,
Shari in Egypt wearing
Human in cruciform with cross
crosses, possibly Assyrians
Original Coptic cross
c. 15th cent. BCE. (Wilkinson, I,
Chalcolithic, 3900-2500 BCE
These pre-Christian or non-Christian gods on a cross were evidently what was being discussed around
150 AD/CE by Church father Justin Martyr ( First Apology, 21):
And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual
union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and
ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those
whom you esteem sons of Jupiter.93
The ―sons of Jupiter‖ are Greco-Roman gods, and Justin claims Christians are ―propounding nothing
different‖ than what the Pagans said about their gods—and he is describing the scenario in a linear
fashion, as we are likewise compelled to do in our own mythography. The suggestion that other gods
were ―crucified‖ by being put in a cross shape or cruciform is confirmed by early Christian writer Minucius
Felix in his Octavius (29):
CHAP. XXIX—ARGUMENT: NOR IS IT MORE TRUE THAT A MAN FASTENED TO A CROSS
ON ACCOUNT OF HIS CRIMES IS WORSHIPPED BY CHRISTIANS…
For in that you attribute to our religion the worship of a criminal and his cross, you wander far
from the neighbourhood of the truth, in thinking either that a criminal deserved, or that any earthly
being was able, to be believed God…. Crosses, moreover, we neither worship nor wish for. You,
indeed, who consecrate gods of wood, adore wooden crosses perhaps as parts of your gods. For
your very standards, as well as your banners, and flags of your camp, what else are they but
crosses gilded and adorned? Your victorious trophies not only imitate the appearance of a simple
cross, but also that of a man affixed to it.94
Since these passionate defenders of Christianity themselves have made the comparison between Christ
on the cross and Pagan figures in cruciform or affixed to crosses, we would be remiss in not following
92 Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 4, p. 517-518.
93 Roberts, A., ANF, I, 170.
94 Roberts, A., ANF, IV, 191.
Counted among these ―sons of Jupiter‖ depicted in cruciform may be the Greek god Prometheus, who
was portrayed both in ancient writings and in pre-Christian artifacts as being bound to a cross or in
cruciform. As related by the Catholic Encyclopedia:
...On an ancient vase we see Prometheus bound to a beam which serves the purpose of a
cross.... In the same way the rock to which Andromeda was fastened is called crux, or cross....95
Prometheus crucified using chains c.
Andromeda crucified using chains
c. 79 AD/CE
Wall painting, Pompeii
Regarding the Egyptian god in cruciform, Thomas W. Doane relates:
Osiris, the Egyptian Saviour, was crucified in the heavens. To the Egyptian the cross was the
symbol of immortality, an emblem of the Sun, and the god himself was crucified to the tree, which
denoted his fructifying power.
Horus was also crucified in the heavens. He was represented, like... Christ Jesus, with
outstretched arms in the vault of heaven.96
Horus with arms outstretched in vault of heaven
(Sharpe, Egyptian Antiquities in the British Museum, 143)
(NB: This image was originally on a papyrus and is here and in Christ in Egypt
depicted upside down for purposes of more readily illustrating the point.)
This concept of Horus with outstretched arms or wings is confirmed by Egyptologist Dr. Hornung:
Horus shows himself in the image of the hawk whose wings span the sky…97
Horus is also evidently linked with what some scholars would cal his ―Gnostic Counterpart‖: a figure
known as ―Horos-Stauros,‖ a title in Greek meaning ―Boundary-Cross,‖ the latter word stauros being the
exact term used in the New Testament to describe Jesus‘s cross. (E.g., Mt 27:32; Mk 15:30; Jn 19:19)
95 CE, vol. 4, 519.
96 Doane, 484.
97 Hornung, CGAE, 124.
For more on Horus as the ―Horos-Stauros‖ and in cruciform, see the 40-page chapter ―Was Horus
‗Crucified?‘‖ in Murdock‘s Christ in Egypt and online article ―Was Horus Crucified?‖
Osiris too, it should be noted, was identified with the cross—the Egyptian ankh, which itself looks like a
person in cruciform—and depicted as a crosslike djed pillar, surrounded by his two sisters, the Merti.
Osiris as personified djed pillar holding sun,
Jesus on cross
surrounded by two Merti
with solar halo,
c. 13th-15th cents. BCE
surrounded by three Merys
Egyptian Book of the Dead (Ani Papyrus)
(Faulkner, EBD, pl. 1)
Buried for three days: In the myth, both Osiris and Horus die and are resurrected, with Horus becoming
the risen Osiris. As stated in The Riddle of Resurrection by professor of Old Testament Studies at the
University of Lund, Dr. Tryggve N.D. Mettinger:
The death and resurrection of Osiris are the most central features of [the Khoiak/Koiak] festival.98
Dr. Mettinger also states:
...Osiris rose to new life in his son, Horus...99
The period between Osiris‘s death and resurrection varies, depending on the myth. For example, as ―the
Osiris‖/deceased in the Egyptian funeral texts, as wel as the nightly sun, he dies and resurrects on a
daily basis. The annual death-and-resurrection period, however, is commonly depicted as three days, as
related by Rev. Dr. Alfred Bertholet, a theologian and professor at the University of Göttingen. In an
article entitled, ―The Pre-Christian Belief in the Resurrection of the Body,‖ published in The American
Journal of Theology by the University of Chicago Press, Dr. Bertholet remarks:
According to the faith of later times, Osiris was three days and three nights in the waters before
he was restored to life again.100
Dr. Jaime A. Ezquerra concurs: ―Three days separated Christ‘s death from his resurrection, reckoning
inclusively, as in the case of Osiris.‖
The three-day period and resurrection are recorded by Plutarch (39, 366D-E) as occurring on the 17th,
18th and 19th of the month Athyr (Hathor), until ―Osiris is found.‖101 In the funerary literature (e.g., PT
670/N 348), Osiris is called forth by Horus on the fourth day.102
98 Mettinger, 182.
99 Mettinger, 172.
100 Bertholet, 5.
101 Plutarch/Babbitt, 95-97.
102 Murdock, CIE, 400. For more information on the ―Burial for Three Days, Resurrection and Ascension,‖ see Christ
in Egypt, 376-430.
It is useful to reiterate here that Horus and Osiris are often interchangeable and, indeed, in his
resurrection Osiris becomes Horus.
The theme of resurrection from the dead and ―raising up‖ in three days is present in the Old Testament as
well, at Hosea 6:2:
After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.
As Mettinger also says:
The idea of a three-days span of time between death and return, a triduum, seems to be at hand
in Hosea 6:2 in a context where the imagery ultimately draws upon Canaanite ideas of
resurrection… Apart from Hosea 6:2 one should remember also Jonah 2:1…where Jonah is in
the belly of the fish three days and three nights. I understand the belly of the fish as a metaphor
for the Netherworld.103
In this regard, it should also be noted that where the fish‘s belly is the ―netherworld,‖ Jonah would thus be
a sun god.104 Logic tells us that the story of Jonah and the Whale could not be ―history‖; hence, it must be
mythical, in whole or in part. But what does this patently mythical pericope mean? It is about the sun
entering into the ―abyss‖ of the ―Leviathan,‖ i.e., the dark cave or tomb of night. Concerning this myth,
Catholic scholar Dr. Botterweck states:
...In a sun myth the sun is swallowed up by the western part of the sea and then rises again. This
myth is "historicized and re-neutralized in Jonah, as...Jonah replaces the sun and the 'great fish'
plays the role of the sea." On the other hand, the period of time Jonah stayed in the belly of the
fish suggests a moon myth, and calls to mind, among other things, Inanna's descent into the
Yet, Jesus is compared to Jonah at Matthew 12:40, essentially equating him with a solar myth.
Moreover, it was said that Osiris‘s Greek counterpart Dionysus or Bacchus ―slept three nights with
Proserpine [Persephone],‖106 evidently referring to the god‘s journey into the underworld to visit his
mother. One major astrotheological meaning of this motif is the sun‘s entrance into the cave (womb) of
the world at the winter solstice.
As will be described in a later section, the three-day death-and-resurrection theme in a number of myths
is symbolic of the ―death‖ and ―return‖ of the sun at the winter solstice each year.
Resurrected: We have already seen the evidence that both Osiris and Horus were resurrected from the
dead. Again, as concerns Horus‘s resurrection, Diodorus remarks:
Isis also discovered the elixir of immortality, and when her son Horus fell victim to the plots of the
Titans and was found dead beneath the waves, she not only raised him from the dead and
restored his soul, but also gave him eternal life.107
Regarding the meaning of this resurrection theme, Dr. Herman te Velde, a chairman of the Department of
Egyptology at the University of Groningen, states:
As Re [Ra] who manifests himself in the sun goes to rest in the evening and awakes from the
sleep of death in the morning, so do the death and resurrection of Osiris seem to be equally
inevitable and natural.108
In this regard, the pharaoh is the ―living Horus,‖ until he dies, at which point he becomes ―the Osiris,‖ who
is then resurrected to eternal life—and as his son, Horus, the morning sun. This cycle is repeated
constantly in the Egyptian texts. Indeed, concerning Osiris, James Bonwick remarks:
103 Mettinger, 214.
104 See, e.g., Acharya, SOG, 460, etc.
105 Botterweck, III, 138.
106 Classical Journal, 92.
107 Diodorus/Murphy, 31.
108 te Velde, 81.
His birth, death, burial, resurrection and ascension embraced the leading points of Egyptian
Concerning this motif, Egyptologist Dr. Bojana Mojsov likewise relates:
Every year in the town of Abydos his death and resurrection after three days were celebrated in a
publicly enacted passion play called the Mysteries of Osiris.110
Again, for more on this subject, including the meaning and location of Osiris‘s resurrection, see the 54-
page chapter ―Burial for Three Days, Resurrection and Ascension‖ in Christ in Egypt.
These attributes of Horus, whether original or not, seem to permeate many
cultures of the world, for many other gods are found to have the same general
mythological structure. Attis of Phrygia, born of the virgin Nana on December 25th,
“crucified,” placed in a tomb and after three days, was resurrected.
Providing a summary of the mythos and ritual of Attis, along with parallels to Christian tradition, professor
of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Manchester Dr. Andrew T. Fear states:
The youthful Attis after his murder was miraculously brought to life again three days after his
demise. The celebration of this cycle of death and renewal was one of the major festivals of the
metroac cult. Attis therefore represented a promise of reborn life and as such it is not surprising
that we find representations of the so-called mourning Attis as a common tomb motif in the
The parallel, albeit at a superficial level, between this myth and the account of the resurrection of
Christ is clear. Moreover Attis as a shepherd occupies a favourite Christian image of Christ as the
good shepherd. Further parallels also seem to have existed: the pine tree of Attis, for example,
was seen as a parallel to the cross of Christ.
Beyond Attis himself, Cybele too offered a challenge to Christian divine nomenclature. Cybele
was regarded as a virgin goddess and as such could be seen as a rival to the Virgin Mary...
Cybele as the mother of the Gods, mater Deum, here again presented a starkly pagan parallel to
the Christian Mother of God.
There was rivalry too in ritual. The climax of the celebration of Attis‘ resurrection, the Hilaria, fell
on the 25th of March, the date that the early church had settled on as the day of Christ‘s
As we can see, according to this scholar Attis is killed, fixed to a tree, and resurrects after three days,
while his mother is ―regarded as a virgin goddess‖ comparable to the Virgin Mary.
These conclusions come from the writings of ancient Pagans, as well as the early Church fathers,
including Justin, Clement of Alexandria, Hippolytus, Tatian, Tertullian, Augustine, Arnobius and Firmicus
Born of the Virgin Nana: The Phrygian god Attis‘s mother was variously called Cybele and Nana. Like
Isis and Mary, Nana/Cybele is a perpetual virgin, despite her status as a mother. The scholarly term used
to describe virgin birth is ―parthenogenesis,‖ while many goddesses are referred to as ―Parthenos,‖ the
Greek word meaning ―virgin.‖ This term is applicable to the Phrygian goddess Cybele/Nana as well.
The theme of the virgin goddess or parthenos is common in the Pagan world. For example, Hera, wife of
Zeus, was said to restore her virginity each year by bathing in a river.112 Despite her virginity, Zeus‘s
daughter Athena, for whom the temple in her eponymous city of Athens was named ―Parthenon,‖ was
also a mother.113
109 Bonwick, 150.
110 Mojsov, xii.
111 Lane, 39-40.
112 Price, T., 203. For a scholarly analysis of the divine birth and virgin mother in ancient Greece, see The Cult of the
Divine Birth by Dr. Marguerite Rigoglioso.
113 Murdock, CIE, 147.
The diverse names of Attis‘s mother and her manner of impregnation are explained by Dr. David Adams
Leeming, professor emeritus of English and comparative literature at the University of Connecticut:
Attis is the son of Cybele in her form as the virgin, Nana, who is impregnated by the divine force
in the form of a pomegranate.114
Demonstrating the commonality of the virgin-mother motif, after discussing several pre-Christian and non-
Christian gods, such as the Mexican Quetzalcoatl, whose mother, Chimalman, esteemed mythologist
Joseph Campbell refers to as a ―virgin,‖115 Dr. Leeming remarks:
The birth myth…is made up of several events... The most important component—one common to
almost all of the stories—is the virgin birth, in which I include any kind of magic or divine
conception whether by way of feather or pomegranate seed or white elephant.116
Medallion of Cybele in chariot,
under the sun, moon and star
2nd cent. BCE
Ai Khanoum, Afghanistan
December 25th: The ―December 25th‖ or winter-solstice birth of the sun god is a common theme in
several cultures around the world over the past millennia, including the Egyptian, as already
demonstrated. As it is for Mithra, Horus and Jesus, this date has likewise been claimed for Attis‘s nativity
as well. For example, Barbara G. Walker writes:
Attis‘s passion was celebrated on the 25th of March, exactly nine months before the solstitial
festival of his birth, the 25th of December. The time of his death was also the time of his
conception, or re-conception.117
In this same regard, Shirley Toulson remarks:
In the secret rites of this Great Mother the young god Attis figured as her acolyte and consort....
Each year he was born at the winter solstice, and each year as the days shortened, he died.118
The reasoning behind this contention of the vegetative and solar god Attis‘s birth at the winter solstice is
sound enough, in that it echoes natural cycles, with the god‘s death at the vernal equinox also
representing the time when he is conceived again, to be born nine months later. As an example of
scholarly extrapolation of this date, in discussing the winter-solstice orientation of a tomb in the Roman
necropolis at Carmona, Spain, which possessed an image of Attis,119 archaeologist Dr. Manuel Bendala
evinced the birth of the god at that time:
...the peculiar orientation of a chamber, into which the first rays of the morning sun would directly
penetrate on the day of the winter solstice, led [Bendala] to deduce that this would be a kind of
114 Leeming, MVH, 25.
115 Leeming, MVH, 18.
116 Leeming, MVH, 39.
117 Walker, B., WEMS, 77.
118 Toulson, 34.
119 Vermaseren, CCCA, 62.
sanctum sanctorum of the sanctuary, where the devotees of Attis celebrated the Natalis
The Natalis Invicti is the ―Birth of the Unconquered One,‖ referring to the sun. This contention is
reasonable when one considers that Attis himself was evidently a sun god, as related by Brandeis
University professor of Classical Studies Dr. Patricia A. Johnston:
G. Thomas...traces the development of the idea of resurrection with regard to Attis, [which]
seems to be firmly established approximately by the time of Firmicus Maternus and the Neo-
Platonists, i.e., the fourth century A.D. By this time, ―Attis is now conceived of as a higher cosmic
god, even the Sun-god.... At the solstice...symbolically Cybele is seen to have paled before the
Moreover, at times the young Attis was merged with Mithra,122 whose birthday was traditionally held on
December 25th and with whom he shared the same Phrygian capped attire. As we have seen, the Natalis
Invicti was traditionally the birth of Mithra and Sol Invictus.
In this regard, as Dr. Fear relates:
Allegorical readings of metroac mythology allowed the cult to be integrated into the popular cult of
Sol Invictus. Attis became emblematic of the sun god, and Cybele of the mother earth.123
To summarize, as Sol Invictus or the Unconquered Sun—again, who is likewise identified with Mithra—
Attis too would have been depicted as having been born on December 25th or the winter solstice, the time
of the Natalis Invicti.124
Marble bust of Attis wearing Phrygian cap
Mithra in a Phrygian cap
2nd cent. AD/CE
2nd cent. AD/CE
(British Museum, London)
Crucified: The myths of Attis‘s death include him being kil ed by a boar or by castrating himself under a
tree, as well as being hung on a tree or ―crucified.‖ Indeed, he has been cal ed the ―castrated and
crucified Attis.‖125 Again, it should be noted that the use of the term ―crucified‖ in ZG1.1 and elsewhere,
such as concerns gods like Horus and Attis, does not connote that he or they were thrown to the ground
and nailed to a cross, as we commonly think of crucifixion, based on the Christian tale. As we have seen,
120 Vermaseren, CARC, 408.
121 Vermaseren, CARC, 108.
122 Vermaseren, CARC, 108.
123 Vermaseren, CARC, 43.
124 Halsberghe, 159.
125 Harari, 131.
there have been plenty of ancient figures who appeared in cruciform, some of whose myths specifically
have them punished or killed through crucifixion, such as Prometheus.
The crucifixion in solar mythology represents the circle of the year with a cross
in the center, symbolizing the solstices and equinoxes. Hence, as a sun god,
Attis would logically have been said to be ―crucified,‖ as have been his solar
counterparts in the esoterica of the solar cultus. As a nature god as well, he
would be said to be hung on a cross at the vernal equinox, when the days and
nights are equal, until he rises to bring back the resurrection of the spring from
the death of winter, as well as the day triumphing over the night as it increases
Moreover, Attis is said to have been ―crucified‖ to a pine tree,126 while Christ
too was related as being both crucified and hung on a tree (Acts 5:30; 10:39). As stated by La Trobe
University professor Dr. David John Tacey:
Especially significant for us is the fact that the Phrygian Attis was crucified upon the tree...127
In antiquity, these two concepts were obviously similar enough to be interchangeable in understanding.
As we know from rituals that have continued into relatively recent times, such as among the Khonds of
India, when the sacred-king victims of their human-sacrifice rituals are hung on a tree, the sacrifice was
often done with their arms extended onto branches on either side, or in cruciform.128 Indeed, some of
these cults/tribes use movable crossbars, such that it can very accurately be stated that they hang their
victims on a tree that is also a cross—a cross-shaped tree, in fact. Hence, the two are essentially the
same. The wood upon which a crucified victim is hung need not be a hewn cross but can be a tree, and
Attis‘s hanging upon a tree has very much been considered a ―crucifixion‖: ―It was an ancient custom to
use trees as gibbets for crucifixion, or, if artificial, to call the cross a tree.‖129
In fact, in the biblical book of Deuteronomy (21:22), the writer speaks of hanging criminals upon a tree, as
though it were a general custom:
And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang
him on a tree: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury
him that day; (for he that is hanged [is] accursed of God;)…
Furthermore, Paul of Tarsus seems to refer to the above Deuteronomy quote in the correct context when
he says: ―Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written,
‗Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.‘‖ (Galatians 3:13)
Again, in the Book of Acts, Christ is specifically said to have been hung on a tree:
The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. (Acts 5:30)
And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem;