Hapy

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alabaster perfume vase from the “House of Eternity” of King TutankhAmon with two images of the Nile-God Hapy binding together the symbolic plants of Upper and Lower Egypt, that is the ritual of the “Union of the Two Lands” (‘sm3-t3wy’); at right, Hapy of Upper Egypt with the lilies of Upper Egypt, and at left Hapy of Lower Egypt with the papyrus flowers of Lower Egypt.
On the top, the Two Goddesses Nekhbet (at right, with the White Crown) and Outo (at left, with the Red Crown) as sacred Uraei.
Now in the Cairo Museum

Hapy, the God of the Nile, is always represented in the form of a man with the breasts of a woman, symbolizing His power of fertility, nurishment and procreation. Hapy is depicted also in two forms, as the Nile of the South (His symbol is the lotus plant of Upper Egypt) and the Nile of the North (His symbol is the papyrus plant of Lower Egypt).
Hapy is strictly associated and also identified with Nun, the God of the Primeval Waters (the cosmic waters), and with Osiris as the “Vivifier God”.

“Blessed is the man who cleaves the soil of Egypt with his plough; he need not hope for clouds to shroud the heavens in darkness nor call upon the storm-winds that bring the chilling rain or the rainbow with its various colours. Fertile is Egypt without clouds; here alone is sunshine and yet rain. She regards not the sky, needs not the wind, enough for her the water she herself contains, Nile’s overflow… for of a truth whatever toll summer has extracted from all rivers Nature repays to the Nile, and waters gathered together from the whole world meet thus in one river.”
(Claudianus, The Nile)

-HYMN TO THE GOD HAPY-
from a papyrus of the Middle Kingdom
(translation from Lichtheim, “Ancient Egyptian Literature”, vol.I)

“Adoration of Hapy:
Hail to You, Hapy,
Sprung from the Earth,
Come to nourish Egypt!
Of secret ways,
A darkness by day,
To Whom His followers sing!
Who floods the fields that Ra has made,
To nourish all who thirst;
Lets drink the waterless desert,
His dew descending from the sky.

Friend of Geb (the God of the Earth), Lord of Nepri (the God of Wheat),
Promoter of the arts of Ptah.
Lord of the fishes,
He makes fowl stream south,
No bird falling down from heat.
Maker of barley, creator of emmer,
He lets the Temples celebrate.

When He is sluggish noses clog,
Everyone is poor;
As the sacred loaves are pared,
A million perish among men.
When He plunders, the whole land rages,
Great and small roar;
People change according to His coming,
When Khnum has fashioned Him
When He floods, Earth rejoices,
Every belly jubilates,
Every jawbone takes on laughter,
Every tooth is bared.

Food provider, bounty maker,
Who creates all that is good!
Lord of awe, sweetly fragrant,
Gracious when He comes.
Who makes herbage for the herds,
Gives sacrifice for every God.
Dwelling in the Netherworld,
He controls both Heaven and Earth.
Conqueror of the Two Lands,
He fills the stores,
Makes bulge the barns,
Gives bounty to the poor.

Grower of all delightful trees,
He has no revenue.
Barges exist by His might,
He is not hewn in stone.
Mountains cleave by His surge.
One sees no workmen, no leader,
He carries off in secrecy.

No one knows the place He’s in,
His cavern is not found in books.
He has no shrines, no portions,
No service of His choice;
But youths, His children, hail Him,
One greets Him like a King.
Lawful, timely, He comes forth,
Filling Egypt, South and North;
As one drinks, all eyes are on Him,
Who makes His bounty overflow.

He who grieved goes out in joy,
Every heart rejoices;
Sobek, Neith’s child, bares His teeth,
The Nine Gods exult.
As He spouts, makes drink the fields,
Everyone grows vigorous.
Rich because another toils,
One has no quarrel with Him;
Maker of food He’s not defied,
One sets no dam for Him.

Light-maker Who comes from dark,
Fattener of herds,
Might that fashions all,
None can live without Him.
People are clothed with the flax of His fields,
For He made Hedj-hotep(the Weaver God) serve Him;
He made anointing with His unguents,
For He is the like of Ptah.
All kinds of crafts exist through Him,
All books of Divine words,
His produce from the sedges.

Entering the cavern,
Coming out above,
He wants His coming secret.
If He is heavy, the people dwindle,
A year’s food supply is lost.
The rich man looks concerned,
Everyone is seen with weapons,
Friend does not attend to friend.
Cloth is wanting for one’s clothes,
Noble children lack their finery;
There’s no eye-paint to be had,
No one is anointed.

This truth is fixed in people’s hearts:
Want is followed by deceit.
He who consorts with the sea,
Does not harvest grain.
Though one praises all the Gods,
Birds will not come down to deserts.
No one beats his hand with gold,
No man can get drunk on silver,
One cannot eat lapislazuli,
Barley is foremost and strong!

Songs to the harp are made for You,
One sings to You with clapping hands;
The youths, Your children, hail You,
Crowds adorn themselves for You,
Who comes with riches, decks the land,
Makes flourish every body;
Sustains the pregnant woman’s heart,
And loves a multitude of herds.

When He rises at the Residence,
Men feast on the meadows’gifts,
Decked with lotus for the nose,
And all the things that sprout from Earth.
Children’s hands are filled with herbs,
They forget to eat.
Good things are strewn about the houses,
The whole land leaps for joy.
When You overflow, O Hapy,
Sacrifice is made for You;
Oxen are sacrificed for You,
A great oblation is made to You.
Fowl is fattened for You,
Desert game snared for You,
As one repays Your bounty.

One offers to all the Gods
Of that which Hapy has provided,
Choice incense, oxen, goats,
And birds in holocaust.

Mighty is Hapy in His cavern.
His name unknown to those below,
For the Gods do not reveal it.

You people who extol the Gods,
Respect the awe His son has made,
The All-Lord Who sustains the shores!
Oh joy when You come!
Oh joy when You come, O Hapy,
Oh joy when You come!
You Who feed men and herds
With Your meadow gifts!
Oh joy when You come!
Oh joy when You come, O Hapy,
Oh joy when You come!”

 

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