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Sacred Root of Herbalism (part 2)

"The Divine Origin of the Craft of the Herbalist"  E.A. Wallis Budge


"The principal Egyptian gods and goddesses who were specially skilled in medicine and the art of healing were these:  Osiris was a god of vegetation in one of the earliest phases, and at all periods he was associated with the moon.  He was skilled in the know-

ledge of plants and was a great agricultural authority, and he introduced wheat  into Egypt.  He taught men the cultivation of the vine and was the first god to make wine.  As the god and judge of the dead, he dealt in a portion of the Underworld, and the souls of the beatified dead spent their time there in the cultivation of the wonderful Maat plant.  This plant or shrub was a form of the body of Osiris, and his followers ate it and lived upon it.  It maintained their lives, and because they ate the body of their god, they became one with him and, like him, lived forever...Egyptian texts and pictures indicate

that wheat plants were believed to spring from his body, and the grains of wheat were part of it.  The Egyptian Christians adopted this view, only they substituted the body of God for the body of Osiris...


Clearly associated with Osiris was the goddess Isis.  Her knowledge of herbs was great, and as one of the most ancient Mother-goddesses of Egypt, she was the great protectress of her husband Osiris, her son Horus, and women and children in general.  In the Ebers Papyrus (Plate 1) she is addressed thus: "May Isis heal me as she healed Horus of all the wounds which his brother Set, who slew his father Osiris, had inflicted upon him.  O Isis, thou great magician, heal me, and deliver thou me from all bad, evil and Typhonic things, and from every kind of fatal sickness, and from diseases caused by devils, and from impurity of every kind, even as thou didst deliver thy son Horus from such."  In the same Papyrus (Plate XLVII) we have a prescription for pains in the head which she wrote for the god Ra.  As a woman, Isis suffered from some ailment in the breast, and a copy of the prescription for the medicine shich she prepared and used herself is given on Plate XCV...


The god Thoth, to whom Isis appealed in her distress, was himself a very great and pow-

erful physician and magician, and was the author of all the formulas which enabled human

physicians to heal sickness and to drive out devils and evil spirits from the bodies of their patients.  His name was so powerful that if a man called himself Thoth, he at once ac-

quired the attributes of the god.  Thoth had on certain occasions practiced as a physician, for he treated the Eye of Horus, i.e. the Sun, when it was wounded by Set, and restored it to its normal condition.  From the earliest times, Thoth was regarded as the author and copyist of the powerful spells which he used, and he possessed in a very full degree that marvelous quality or power called "Heka', which Ra himself had invented for the benefit of gods and men...and in bas-reliefs the Thoth of Nubia is represented as holding...a staff round which a serpent is coiled...The serpent was chosen as a symbol of renewed life or immortality because it sloughed its skin, and so apparently renewed its life and health...


Another most important god of medicine was Anpu, whom the Greeks called "Anubis".  He may be regarded as the apothecary of the gods of Egypt, for he was the keeper of the house of medicines and the "chamber of embalment".  The dead body of Osiris was taken to him, and whilst Isis recited her spells and incantations, Anubis carried out the opera-

tions connected with the embalment of the body of the god and the preservation of his viscera...Thus it is clear that the Egyptians possessed books about medicine in the first half of the fourth millenium before Christ, and that Anubis was even at that early period regarded as the apothecary and the maker-up of prescriptions for the gods...In one of their magical systems the Gnostics connected Christ, as the Savior and knower of hearts,

with Anubis, the embalmer and preserver of the hearts of men."  {after weighing them in the Hall of Osiris' after their death}

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