Why I say "So Mote it Be" instead of Amen as a Pagan

by Elkin Vaneon

Why I will acknowledge "Amen" as a title of a Pagan deity, but refuse to use it simply as a word at the end of a benediction or prayer! There are many words and titles from ancient origins that have been transferred, transposed, stolen or merely changed to encompass a broader meaning. I have found the term "So Mote it Be" is used in its proper format as an acknowledgement during a pagan ritual without having to replace it with the word "amen". Amen is usually used in the Hebrew or Christian context, at the end of a ritual or prayer, referring to the acknowledgment and affirmation of a monotheistic deity such as Jehovah, Jah, Yod He Ve Ha, Jeshua, or Jesus. Many people come into the pagan culture, with its many different traditions, trying to merge the cultural beliefs they left behind to form a new one of their choice. Even though this seems to be a lot of fuss over a word or title and it may seem to be easier to just acknowledge and follow others who mean well - it can cause many problems. It is through language and culture that we define ourselves and having to compromise means the slow loss of our own identity within that language or culture, especially to polytheistic god and goddess based religions - where monotheism in its various forms are introduced and slowly destroy them from within. This treastise is not meant to be degrading nor harmful - simply to provide information into the understanding of the entymology and history of the word "Amen".

God: A Definition from http://reluctant-messenger.com/citsym/God.htm

God is a word that means different things to different people. To many Taoist or Buddhist the word is not part of their religion's glossary. To Hindus that word has a different meaning than it does to a Christian. Muslims have a different perspective and so do the Jews. So for the purpose of The Mystic Doctrines website, we need a common definition of God.

These are quotes different sources from each religion.

Taoism - Tao, the subtle reality of the universe cannot be described, That which can be described in words is merely a conception of the mind. Although names and descriptions have been applied to it, the subtle reality is beyond the description. (Tao Teh Ching - beginning of chapter 1)

The subtle essence of the universe is elusive and evasive... It is the subtle origin of the whole of creation and non-creation. It existed prior to the beginning of time as the deep and subtle reality of the universe. It brings all into being. (Tao Teh Ching - portions of chapter 21)

Buddhism - "There is, O monks, an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed. Were there not, O monks, this unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed, there would be no escape from the world of the born, originated, created, formed. "Since, O monks, there is an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, and unformed, therefore is there an escape from the born, originated, created, formed." (The Gospel of Buddha - Sermon at the bamboo grove at Rajagaha)

Hinduism - Neither the multitude of gods nor great sages know of my origin, for I am the source of all the gods and great sages. A mortal who knows me as the unborn, beginningless great lord of the worlds is freed from all delusion and all evils. (The Bhagavad-Gita - The tenth teaching, verses 2 & 3)

Sihkism - There is One, only One Supreme Being, Truth Eternal, Creator of all seen & unseen, Fearless, Without hatred, Timeless Being, Non-Incarnated, Self created, Realized by the Grace of Guru (Perfect Master Only.) (Guru Granth Sahib Page 1)

Judaism - In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 ) For thus saith the Eternal that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the self existent One; and there is none else. ( Isaiah 45:18)

Kabbalistic definition of God from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabbalistic_definition_of_God - Mainstream Orthodox Judaism teaches that God is neither matter nor spirit. They teach that God is the creator of both, but is himself neither. But if God is so different from his creation, how can there be any interaction between the Creator and the created? This question prompted early Kabbalists (Jewish mystics) to envision two aspects of God, (a) God himself, who in the end is unknowable, and (b) the revealed aspect of God, His "light," which created the universe, preserves the universe, and interacts with mankind in a personal way. Kabbalists believe that these two aspects are not contradictory but complement one another, similar to a creation inside a person's mind.

Christianity - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. He was present originally with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without him was not one thing made that has come into being. (Gospel of John 1:1-3 )

Sufism - You are the Absolute Existence which causes (our) transient (existences) to appear. (Masnavi - Book 1 - Creator and Creation)

The Authors definition of god was - God is the indescribable, uncreated, self existent, eternal all knowing source of all reality and being.

History of Amen, Amon, Amoun, Amen, and rarely Imen,
Greek Αμμον Ammon, and Άμμον Hammon, Egyptian Yamanu

Amon-Ra - Amun (also spelled Amon, Amoun, Amen, and rarely Imen, Greek Αμμον Ammon, and Άμμον Hammon, Egyptian Yamanu) was the name of a deity, in Egyptian mythology, who gradually rose to become one of the most important deities in Ancient Egypt, before fading into obscurity.

Origin of name - Amun's name is first recorded in Egyptian records as imn, meaning "The hidden (one)". Since vowels were not written in Egyptian hieroglyphics, Egyptologists have reconstructed the name to have been pronounced *Yamānu (yah-maa-nuh) originally. The name survives into the Coptic language as Amoun.

God of Air - Originally, he was part of the Ogdoad, and together with his female counterpart Amunet simply nothing more than a deification of the concept of air, and thus wind, one of the four fundamental concepts held to have composed the primordial universe.

Creator - Gradually, as god of air, he came to be associated with the breath of life, which created the ba, particularly in Thebes. By the First Intermediate Period this had led to him being thought of, in these areas, as the creator god, titled father of the gods, preceding the Ogdoad, although also part of it. As he became more significant, he was assigned a wife (Amunet being his own female aspect, more than a distinct wife), and since he was the creator, his wife was considered the divine mother from which the cosmos emerged, who in the areas where Amun was worshipped was, by this time, Mut. King - When the armies of the Eighteenth dynasty evicted the Hyksos rulers from Egypt, Thebes (where the victors were based) became the most important city, and so Amun became nationally important. The Pharaohs attributed all their successful enterprises to Amun, and they lavished their wealth and captured spoil on his temples. And so, when the Greeks reported back on their visits to Egypt, Amun, as king of the gods, became identified by the Greeks with Zeus, and so his consort Mut with Hera. As the Egyptians considered themselves oppressed during the period of Hyksos rule, the victory under the supreme god Amun, was seen as his championing of the underdog. Consequently, Amun was viewed as upholding the rights to justice of the poor, being titled Vizier of the poor, and aiding those who travelled in his name, as the Protector of the road. Since he upheld Ma'at, those who prayed to Amun were required first to demonstrate that they were worthy, by confessing their sins.

Fertility God - When, subsequently, Egypt conquered Kush, they identified the chief deity of the Kushites as Amun. This deity was depicted as Ram headed, specifically a woolly Ram with curved horns, and so Amun started becoming associated with the Ram. Indeed, due to the aged appearance of it, they came to believe that this had been the original form of Amun, and that Kush was where he had been born. However, since rams, due to their rutting, were considered a symbol of virility, Amun became thought of as a fertility deity, and so started to absorb the identity of Min, becoming Amun-Min. This association with virility lead to Amun-Min gaining the epithet Kamutef, meaning Bull of his mother, in which form he was often found depicted on the walls of Karnak, ithyphallic, and with a scourge.

Sun God - As Amun's religious order grew bigger, Amun rapidly became identified with the chief God that was worshipped in other areas, Ra-Herakhty, the merged identities of Ra, and Horus. This identification led to a merger of identities, with Amun becoming Amun-Ra. As Ra had been the father of Shu, and Tefnut, and the remainder of the Ennead, so Amun-Ra was likewise identified as their father.

Ra-Herakhty had been a sun god, and so this became true of Amun-Ra as well, Amun becoming considered the hidden aspect of the sun (e.g. during the night), in contrast to Ra-Herakhty as the visible aspect, since Amun clearly meant the one who is hidden. This complexity over the sun led to a gradual movement towards the support of a more pure form of deity.

During the eighteenth dynasty, the pharaoh Akhenaten (also known as Amenhotep IV) introduced the worship of Aten, an unseeable god whose power was manifested both literally and symbolically in the sun's disc. He defaced the symbols of the old gods and based his new religion around one new god, the Aten. However, this abrupt change was unpopular, particularly with the previous religious orders, who found themselves without power. Consequently, when Akhenaten died, his name was struck out, and all his changes undone, almost as if they had not occurred. The correct form a mentioning Akhenaten were figures akin to 'crazy one from Akhenaten'. Worship of the Aten was replaced, and that of Amun-Ra restored. The priests persuaded the new underage pharaoh Tutankhaten (most likely Akhenaten's son), whose name meant "the living image of Aten", to change his name to Tutankhamun, "the living image of Amun".

Decline - After the Twentieth dynasty moved the centre of power back to Thebes, the powerbase of Amun's religious order had been renewed, and the authority of Amun began to weaken. Under the Twenty-first dynasty the secondary line of priest kings of Thebes upheld his dignity to the best of their power, and the Twenty-second favoured Thebes.

As the sovereignty weakened the division between Upper and Lower Egypt asserted itself, and thereafter Thebes would have rapidly decayed had it not been for the piety of the kings of Nubia towards Amun, whose worship had long prevailed in their country. Thebes was at first their Egyptian capital, and they honoured Amun greatly, although their wealth and religious orderure were not sufficient to affect much.

However, in the rest of Egypt, his religious order was rapidly overtaken, in popularity, by the less divisive religious order of the Legend of Osiris and Isis, which had not been associated with Akhenaten's actions. And so there, his identity became first subsumed into Ra (Ra-Herakhty), who still remained an identifiable figure in the Osiris religious order, but ultimately, became merely an aspect of Horus.

In areas outside of Egypt, where the Egyptians had previously brought the worship of Amun, Amun's fate was not as bad. In Nubia, where his name was pronounced Amane, he remained the national god, with his religious orders at Meroe and Nobatia, via an oracle, regulating the whole government of the country, choosing the king, and directing his military expeditions. According to Diodorus Siculus, they were even able to compel kings to commit suicide, although this behaviour stopped when Arkamane, in the 3rd century BC, slew them.

Likewise, in Libya, there remained an oracle of Amun in the desert, at the oasis of Siwa. Such was its reputation among the Greeks that Alexander the Great journeyed there, after the battle of Issus, and during his occupation of Egypt, in order to be acknowledged the son of the god. Even during this occupation, Amun, identified as a form of Zeus, continued to be the great god of Thebes, in its decay.

Theban High Priests of Amun (Twenty-first dynasty)  from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Priests_of_Amun_at_Thebes - While not regarded as a dynasty per se, the High Priests of Amun at Thebes were nevertheless of such power and influence that they were effectively the rulers of Upper Egypt from 1080 to 945 BC, after this period their influence declined. By the time Herihor was proclaimed as the first ruling High Priest of Amun in 1080 BC--in the 19th Year of Ramesses XI - the Amun religious order exercised an effective stranglehold on Egypt's economy. The Amun priests owned two-thirds of all the temple lands in Egypt and 90 percent of her ships plus many other resources. Consequently, the Amun priests were, in reality, as powerful as Pharaoh, if not more. One of the sons of the High Priest Pinedjem I - would eventually rule Egypt for almost half-a-decade as Psusennes I while the Theban High Priest Psusennes III would assume the throne as king Psusennes II--the last ruler of the 21st Dynasty.

Variious Definitions of Amen

Idaho Web Design Tools
Idaho Web Design Tools