Author of the Month

Seraperion I & II (cont.)
By Antoine Gigal

Ptah wearing his blue cap

So why the deified bulls? To the ancient Egyptians the bull Apis contained the divine manifestation of the god Ptah, and later of Osiris. The Apis bull was thus the actual receptacle selected by the soul of Ptah to come and incarnate in our Earth density. When Osiris later absorbed the identity of Ptah, he symbolised life in death, that is to say, resurrection. The Osiris living in the underworld is also the Osiris of fertile vegetation, he who has conquered evil and death. All these associations between similar gods through the centuries, common in Egypt, actually have a very important meaning, a significance that sometimes contains more than one secret. Thus the Babylonian god Ea was called "Serapsi", that is to say "King of the Depths", which also relates to our Egyptian Serapis.

But back to the god Ptah, the former Atum, demiurge, "creator of the World", "the one who shapes", who builds, "the Divine Architect of heaven and earth", "the possessor of creative fire." On the Shabaka Stone it is said that Ptah "brought the world into existence." The equivalent of Ptah for the Greeks was Hephaistos and for the Romans Vulcan, also identified with Zeus. Ptah is represented standing upright wrapped in the shroud of mummification, like Osiris, which to me clearly indicates that he resides in the underworld. He does not have the freedom of movement that one has on the surface of the Earth. He is a prisoner of a place and a form that was not his in the beginning.

The fact that he is wearing a blue cap (which the blacksmiths adopted later on) shows that he is invisible when on the surface of the Earth. In ancient Egypt the colour blue indicated things and beings that were invisible. Thus Ra was originally depicted in blue, as was Amon. It is the blue of heaven, associated with the creative breath of the life. Ptah has mastered all the secrets of manipulation, which gives him the power to dominate and shape all matter. A chthonic god, he reigns over the minerals in the depths of the Earth. Another important link, he is also associated with Ta Tenen, the island rising out of the submerged land (which brings us back to the Great Flood, or to several of them). In any case, he is a god who was present when the first land appeared above the waters - and who perhaps in order to manifest on Earth has to enclose himself in a form, so why not choose the form of the bull Apis?

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