Throughout the ancient mythological texts of Egypt, the theme of resurrection and rebirth can be found time and again. In one such myth, we are introduced to the mighty and dangerous dragon, Apep. A mysterious creature bearing many names, Apep was also known as Apophis, Aaapef and Rerek. Some people, however, preferred this serpent-like dragon to remain Nameless. Whatever his true name may have been, it was kept secret so as not to grant any further power to this tremendous being. The power contained in Apep represented the chaotic elements of the universe, the destructive and dark side of Nature.

Although later mythologies described Apep as evil, the early myth-tellers were aware life was the coexistence of all opposite values. True power could be seen in the contrasting elements of Apep as the destructive darkness, and Re, the heat and light giving sun-god traveling through the sky in his solar barque.

Apep, The Egyptian Dragon of Chaos by Susanne Iles ©Each day Apep attempted to disrupt the passage of the solar barque carrying the sun-god Re, as it travelled from east to west across the sky. Storms, darkness, rain, eclipse - all were weapons used against Re’s fiery presence in the heavens. The dying god Re made his way to the Underworld as night shrouded daylight, only to be reborn each and every morning at sunrise. The battle between Re and Apep was played out daily as a very visible symbol of the natural cycle of life and death.

Many ancient hieroglyphs show Re in his solar barque surrounded by a protective entourage of gods and goddesses. The gods Set and Mehen battled the dragon with knives and spears. Osiris, Lord of the Underworld, along with his wife/sister, Isis, and the goddess Nephthys, used prayers and supplication as an affirmation of their protective powers. On Earth, the Egyptians and their priests would recite spells and prayers to help ensure Re’s continued victory over the darkness.

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West, John Anthony. Serpent in the Sky: The High Wisdom of Ancient Egypt. Wheaton, IL: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1993. To Menu At Top Of Page