"The Fair Daughters of Godly Men"
Tale of Two Sons and One City
Upon the injury and exile of Anu (Cain), his two "sons" named Enlil and Enki became progenitors of the divine race. Although Enlil was more favored by Anu, it was Enki who acted to save Atrahasis (Noah). For this reason, the Book of Genesis omits the kingly line that passed through Enlil. Enlil himself is not identified by name, only in deed. On the other hand, both the name and "genealogy" of Enki are preserved. Enki son of Anu is "righteous" Enoch son of "wicked" Cain. We are told in Genesis 5:24 (KJV), "Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." We are not explicitly told that any of the Patriarchs were themselves once considered to be gods, or sons of gods. However, the description of Enoch (Enki) comes the closest to revealing that former state.
In the text of Genesis 4:17, there is ambiguity regarding whether it was Cain (Anu) or his son Enoch (Enki) who built the first city. The uncertainty was probably intentional. The author recalls that the city in question was named after the builder's son, but the city's name was either lost or deliberately withheld in the narrative. The divine Cain (Anu) was not known for building a city, or even for living among men. There is no record of his banishment, but in Mesopotamian lore he always seems to be away. It is generally assumed that he is preoccupied with affairs in "heaven," which is the meaning of the name Anu. Anu did not himself build a city, however a temple was built for him on "earth," and was called the E-Anna ("House of Anu"). The city of Erech (Uruk) later grew up around this temple. Erech appears to be a variant of Enoch, and it was Enoch (Enki) who was recognized in Mesopotamian tradition as builder of the world's first city named Eridu(k).
Eridu(k) and Erech are presently thought to be two different cities, but possibly this is mistaken and Erech is simply a short form of Eridu(k). The fuller form Er-i-du(k) can be translated as "City (of the) Mound," that is, city of the elevated temple. It can also be broken down as E-Ri-Du ("House-Ri-Mound"). Translated more freely this becomes, "House with the Shining Apex" or "House of Re's Mound." In Babylon, the son of Enki (Ptah) was called Marduk (Re), a name that also seems to be related to that of Eridu.1 Even more illuminating, the son of Enoch is called Irad in the Bible. The correspondence between these two names, Eridu and Irad, is even closer than that of Erech and Enoch. Irad means "Fugitive." Among the gods, it was not so much Anu (Cain), but his grandson Marduk/Re (Irad) who was known as the brandishing outlaw. The god Marduk-Re was not banished once, but twice.a Unfortunately, after all of this word study, it is no more clear than in the Biblical text whether Erech/Eridu was built by Anu and named after his son Enki, or if it was built by Enki and named for Marduk his son.
A Single Mother and Two Families
We can at least say that it was in the city of Eridu that the mortal Atrahasis (Biblical Noah) served his god Enki and interceded on behalf of a suffering mankind. Enki not only rescued Atrahasis and his family, but he had also earlier been the "father" and "creator" of his race. A tablet dating to the 1st Dynasty of Babylon and called "The Creation of Man by the Mother Goddess," reads:
"The goddess they called, ... the help (?) of the gods, the wise Mami:
'Thou art the mother-womb, the creatress of mankind;
Create Man that he may bear the yoke ...
Nintu opened her mouth and said to the great gods:
'With me alone it is impossible to do; with his help there will be Man.
He shall be the one who fears all the gods' ...
Enki opened his mouth and said to the great gods:
' ... Let them slay a god, and let the gods ... with his flesh and his blood
Let Ninhursag mix clay. God and man ... united (?) in the clay ... "b
Nintu/Ninti was the first goddess, and later became the "helpmeet" of the gods in creating mankind. The proper name of Ninti was Nin-hur-sag, which is translated as "Lady (of the) Mountaintop." This associates her with the cloud-kissed summits. Ninti was called Tefnut in Egypt. This name signifies "Moisture" and therefore the atmosphere. Another name or epithet of Tefnut in Egypt was Hat-hor, meaning "House (of the) Falcon." The falcon flies higher up into the heavens than any other bird. But, there is no more lofty a title than Mami. As a mother to both "gods" and "men," Nin-ti was more than deserving of this term of endearment.
The primary consort of Tefnut was Shu, signifying "Dryness" or the air space itself. Shu was the Egyptian name of Enlil, "Lord of the Air." However, Tefnut also had children by Ptah, and as his consort she was instead called Neit,2 the "Warrior Goddess" and "Weaver of Forms."c The gods possessed the secrets of longevity. They were called "immortals," but it was not believed in ancient times that they actually lived forever. Tefnut/Hathor also aged, and was in her later years depicted as an ugly old cow. However, she would have maintained her beauty and fertility many times longer than normal women.
In the Old Babylonian birthing incantation, "Creation of Man by the Mother Goddess," we learn that Ninhursag created man by "mixing god and man in the clay." Taken alone, this phrase could be interpreted as some kind of clinical merging of two different hominoid races or species. However, another ancient text indicates that it refers to a more mundane process. An earlier Sumerian epic provides a second perspective and helps us read between the lines of the Babylonian verses. It is called "Enki and Ninhursag: A Paradise Myth."d In that tale, Enki and Ninhursag have a daughter named Nin-mu. Nin-mu is not conceived by any artificial method, but by good old-fashioned lovemaking. However, what happens next is much more unusual. Enki goes on to sire a granddaughter named Nin-kurra through this daughter. After that, he produces a great-granddaughter Uttu through the granddaughter. Finally, Enki woos even his own great-granddaughter. All along, he is encouraged and guided by his "two-faced" advisor Isimud. (Isimud is an obvious epithet of the great middleman and physician of the gods, Thoth/Nudimmud.)
As in the Old Babylonian text, "Creation of Man by the Mother Goddess," it is the goddess Ninhursag who initially performs the "mixing" of god and man.e The daughter of Enki and Ninhursag is called "the fair." Likewise is the daughter of Enki by his own daughter called "fair." However, the great-granddaughter is described over and over again as "the fair lady." Fair is of course the very same adjective used in the Bible to describe the "daughters of men." Enki tries to ensure that the genetic make-up of these human offspring will be primarily his own. After several generations of re-concentrating his genes, Ninhursag becomes angry and intervenes. She first poisons Enki and then cures him. After Enki is restored, Ninhursag persuades Enki to bless their many children. In Egyptian lore, the fair daughter of Tefnut/Hathor is called Nut. The prized children of Nut are given to one another in marriage just as the children of Ninhursag and Enki are in Mesopotamian legend. They are likewise given sovereignty over the Earth. The Babylonian text mentions fourteen human children, seven male and seven female. In the Sumerian account, eight other male and female children are born to Enki by Ninhursag, in addition to the three generations of fair daughters.
Genesis 6:2,4 (KJV) tells us that the "sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose... There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown." In Egyptian Mythology, there is a dramatic change in the divine nature beginning with the grandchildren of Tefnut/Hathor through her "fair daughter" Nut. Nut struggled within her mother's womb, and later with her appointed spouse Geb. Parity was being reached between the sexes, and along with it came strife. The three sons (Horus, Seth and Osiris) of Nut and two daughters (Isis and Nephthys) were very attractive and intelligent, but also extremely aggressive. They were the great joy and bitter grief of the older gods. In some traditions, they are not all considered the natural children of Geb. These "Children of Nut" as they were called were a "breed apart." They were gifted, but also given to self-interest and violence. It was in this generation of deities that were found the tendencies toward "wickedness" condemned in the Book of Genesis.
The Children of Nut were the first Biblical champions and the heroes of Mythology. The Hebrew word used in Genesis 6:4 is Nephilim (5303), meaning "giants, tyrants, bullies." The word nephilim is from the verb naphal (5307) and connotes one who fells but also falls, one who smites but is also smitten, one who judges but is also judged. They became great in strength and in power, but were brought to an ignominious end. In mythology, the female Nephilim, i.e., Isis and Nephthys, were equally competitive and combative. In Egyptian, the word nef means "beautiful, perfect."f These large and active children of legendary talent and beauty became the preferred offspring of the gods. We are told that they were "created" by the gods in order to remove their great burden of labor. But far from being mere servants of the elder gods, they were designated as heirs and successors in the task of kingship.
In the Babylonian creation story quoted above, it was Enki who proposed using the blood of a disgraced god in order to designate the new race as "servants" of the gods. The sacrificed god was identified by Berossus as the condemned rebel Kingu.g The name Kingu was also applied to the Moon, which orbits as if sentenced to perpetual servitude to the Earth. All of mankind was to be cursed with the mark of Kingu. This is the first example of children being punished for the "sins of the father," a custom later prohibited by law as unjust. The use of Kingu's blood may not have been purely symbolic. It could have served a "creative" function or to imprint a genetic "trait."3
Man is said to have been "conceived in sin."h From the Biblical perspective, Adam (the god Atum) was not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This metaphor can now be understood as a prohibition against "genetic manipulation," not necessarily in a scientific sense, but possibly it concerned inter-breeding or inbreeding. The senior god Enlil was against the "creation of mankind," and did not change his mind afterwards. On the contrary, he determined to destroy them. The mixed offspring of the gods were endowed with the kingship that Kingu fought in vain for. They were later also condemned to die, especially by Enlil, for bloodshed and other indiscretions arising from their "evil imaginations." But one protégé was found by Ea/Enki to be "righteous" in the hour of the Flood.
The "creation of mankind by the mother goddess" is the basis for the second type of twisting in Genesis - that of "god" and "man." It involves two families, but revolves around a single mother Eve. Eve, that is Ninti/Nihursag (Tefnut), became the mother of the first generation of both "gods" and of "men." Ninti (Eve) bore "divine" Anu (Cain) through Atum. Later, she gave birth to the first "mortals," which were fathered by the god Enki/Ptah. In Egypt, Ptah as fertility god was called Minh. Thoth (Isimud) was later also associated with this deity. The fair daughters produced by Ptah (through the counsel of Thoth/Isimud) were not ordinary "daughters of men," but the fair "daughters of Minh." Both sets of children were bred by a "goddess" and created for kingship. As noted in the previous chapter, the Biblical phrase "sons of God" can be translated as the "sons of Gaia." It was these sons of Gaia who saw that the daughters of Minh were fair. The new race created from inbreeding was in many respects an improvement over the old, but not all were invited to share in the longevity of the gods.
As Shrewd as a Serpent God
Fertile and furtive Enki chose the primitive but symbolically rich emblem of the intertwined serpents. Over the millennia, the serpent increasingly came to be associated with evil. However, in most ancient times, the serpent was a metaphor for duality, being "simultaneously creative and destructive."i The purity of the serpent's straight and narrow form is an inherent contrast to its crooked path and the duplicity of its forked tongue. The double helix formed from two serpents is an ideal symbol for the duality of life itself.4 Sperm and ovum DNA is not in the form of a double helix, but contain only one strand. In the reproductive process, a single DNA strand from the mother and one from the father are combined to form a new life. Genesis 2:24 states, "a man... shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. This is not crudely referring only to sexual intercourse, but also to the creation of one life from the genetic contributions of two.
In Egypt, the serpent icon stood for "a guardian spirit or a hostile force."j The lowly serpent strikes suddenly from the ground, or can ascend the loftiest tree and even "fly" among its branches in pursuit of a victim. In this regard, the serpent was a fearful deterrent to intruders. In addition to its other unique properties, male and female serpents have two sets of reproductive organs, which came to be associated with fertility. In Egypt, the serpent represented not only earthly but cosmic fertility. The sloughing and renewal of a serpent's skin symbolizes immortality and therefore, divinity. The progress of the serpent is comparable to the path of a seeker, and for that reason the serpent symbolizes wisdom. The serpent was characterized as wise and clever, but in a negative sense, also devious and beguiling. Genesis 3:1 states that "the snake was more shrewd than all..." Intriguingly, we find in the Garden of Eden that the serpent-god Enki is not performing his expected role of guarding the Tree of Knowledge, but is actually inducing Adam and Eve to learn first hand about everything in their world.
The gods Enki and Enlil were dueling brothers. Enlil was a working god, attending to his throne. Enki was a playing god with creatures of his own. While Enlil was prohibiting, Enki was proliferating. While Enlil was concealing knowledge, Enki was searching out new things and revealing them, even to mortal men. Enlil represents authority. He considered it to be irresponsible and dangerous to create an intelligent new race of beings that could reproduce rapidly. Enlil especially did not approve of their initiation into the business and intimate company of the gods. The author of Genesis actually takes the side of Enlil in this matter.
Mortal man and woman would not have hidden themselves from their benefactor, the "shrewd" Enki. However, they did have cause to fear the "prude" Enlil. It would have been Yahweh-Enki who prompted the man and woman to taste fruit that Yahweh-Enlil had forbidden. Fig-uratively speaking, it would also have been Yahweh-Enlil who asked, "Who told you that you are nude?" Shrewd and nude rhyme in English, but the Hebrew words used in Genesis are homonyms.k This was itself a clever way of telling the discerning listener that it was the serpent, i.e., slinky Enki, who had made the husband and wife as the Wise.
The structure of Genesis is a triumph in abstract thought, but very strange to the linear modern mind. It is a vestige of the "wide understanding" once kindly imparted by the gods to only a few, but gradually lost after they were dearly departed. The author of Genesis did not wish to reveal everything that was held true about the gods. Many of their ways were by then considered backward, embarrassing and even downright devilish. Nevertheless, it was still possible and desirable to find and express the deeper significance of their tenure. The genius of twisting traditions together is that the author could selectively hide his secrets and his ignorance. Only simple truths and morals are to be grasped by the naïve reader. However, for those whose eyes have been opened and have become as the gods, life is full of subtlety. For the initiate, a far more complex history and world of meaning can be discerned. As an example, Enki (Enoch) is both creature and creator, and represents the cosmic cycle of life. Enki is first described as "the most clever of all the creatures that God had made."l Through his ingenuity, Enki himself then became a fashioner of men. Still later in the Genesis text, he is re-introduced as the builder of a city. Enki's city was a beachhead and home away from home for the "gods." In time, it became a place for "earthlings" too. The gods came first. Humans made in their image came next. It was either all a part of the plan, or the grand mix-up we call modern man.
Even with our limited understanding of science, it seems possible for life to propagate throughout the expanses of the Universe. Although we have ourselves only been in Space for less than a century, we are already sending out probes beyond the Solar System. By what "higher intelligence" and for what purposes new life forms have been intermittently "created" on our planet are not questions that can be answered here. It shall suffice for now to say:
The palm tree can reach a far away beach,
There's got to then be, in the cosmic sea,
Space traveling pods sent by hopeful gods,
With prize-winning spores, for our distant shores.
The Twisted History of the Torah
The Biblical Book of Genesism is a book of origins, a book of creation, and a book of life. It is not a book of science, but does faithfully transmit the one quality that is shared by all living things. Today, we have at least a working understanding of how life is constructed. The three billion genes (genome) of a human being are formed by linked molecules of Deoxy-Ribonucleic-Acid (DNA) that tightly coil up in the shape of a double helix, or twisted ladder. In other words, the genetic contributions of two parents are bound together to imprint a unique "Book of Life" for every person, animal or plant. Similarly, the basic building block of the Book of Genesis is the twisted pair. Through the coupling of related themes, the author spun a history that loops progressively through time.
The initial mapping of the human genome has taken less than 50 years since the discovery of the double helix of DNA by Crick and Watson. Yet, as we spiral headlong into the Genetic Age, it is not without a wrenching sense of deja vu. We are not the first "creatures" to deliberate in the deadly paradise of genetics. "The Tree of Life" and "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" were within the grasp of Biblical Adam and Eve. We are told that they abused the latter and lost access to the former. Through genetics, this generation now "hovers over the face of the deep." But before we re-create a world in chaos, first let there be enlightenment. By virtue of genetic science and technology, let us make the knowledge of our origins something very good. And through archaeology, let us breathe life back into the pages of old testaments.
As it turns out, the basic structure of life is not only a modern revelation, but certainly amongst the oldest. The double helix or twisted pair was used as the fundamental literary structure of the Torah. Torah is customarily translated as "Teachings" or "Law." However, the ruling class of ancient royal society was conversant in many languages. According to the early 1st Century AD Jewish master Philo of Alexandria, Moses studied the languages of all 70 nations of the known world.n The related roots "tor," "tort," "tur," "ter," etc. are found in many other tongues, including Greek and Latin. They are the basis of common English words such as tornado, torture, torment, torsion, turbine, storm, turban, tour, tower, turret and turn - all of which either denote or connote "twisting."5
Perle Epstein writes, "In eleventh-century Spain a philosopher named Ibn Gabirol labeled these secret oral teachings 'Kabbalah,' or tradition."o Epstein continues, "Trying to practice kabbalistic 'meditation' without understanding its foundation in the Torah (the Pentateuch) would be like trying to fly without wings." This title, Kabbalah, is highly symbolic, and connotes much more than mere "tradition" or "received doctrine." It is a priceless vestige of a truly ancient interpretive key associated with the Torah and its underlying structure. The Hebrew chaba (khaw-baw') means "to hide." The Hebrew chabal (khaw-bal') means "to wind tightly (as a rope), i.e., to bind." Another Hebrew word, kebel, means "to twine or braid together." The Hebrew cabab means to "revolve, to turn (self about)."p
The Torah does appear to be a history cobbled together somewhat clumsily from disparate traditions. However, there is an underlying method to the madness. The Torah is a hidden history. The title of Torah itself indicates hiding or encryption. It also embodies the nature of the encoding technique that was used, and is therefore a clue for its decoding. The "twisted history" of the Torah is extremely delicate and tightly interwoven, almost imperceptible to the unaided eye. However, under the microscope of archaeology the separate components become quite distinct once again.
Twisting occurs on three main levels in the Torah. The first and highest level involves the nature of God himself. In Mesopotamian tradition, it was Ea (Yah) who is credited with the creation of Man. Ea is a Semitic name, and means "(Whose) House (is) Water." The Sumerian name of this god was Enki, "Lord (of the) Earth." This creator god was not only known by two major names in Mesopotamia (one Sumerian, Enki, and one Semitic, Ea), but he also had two distinct names in Egypt. In Lower Egypt, he was called Ptah. However, in Upper Egypt he was Khnum, regulator of the annual inundation of the Nile. Both names, Ptah and Khnum, signify "Molder" or "Fashioner." Ptah is depicted "creating life on a potter's wheel."q The god Khnum of Upper Egypt was specifically "The Potter God," and was sometimes depicted as shaping a man or a king on his potter's wheel.r This is a well-known Biblical metaphor used in association with Jehovah.s
In the Bible, the Semitic/Akkadian name Ea takes the Hebrew forms of Ye/Yehow/Yow (English Je/Jeho/Jo), as in Je-hu ("Jehovah is He"), Jeho-shaphat ("Jehovah Judged") and Jo-ab ("Jehovah Fathered"). As a suffix, Ea becomes the Hebrew -yah/yahuw (English -iah), as in Biblical names Jerem-iah and Hezek-iah. But is it really that simple? It is simple, but not that simple. Although the name Yahweh patently derives from the god Ea (Yah), the Biblical deity became much more mighty (weh). Although a great creator, Enki/Ea was not the "Great Creator." Biblical Jehovah is a supreme, universal and eternal being, to which is attributed all previous creative works on Earth. In this respect, Jehovah is a greatly aggrandized deity with respect to Ea.
In addition to creating mankind, various Mesopotamian histories also venerate Ea as the god who acted to save the human Noah from the Flood. (Noah is variously named in Sumerian and Akkadian histories as Utna-pishtim, Ziusudra, Atrahasis and Adapa.) However, Ea was not the first or foremost among the ancient pantheon. His act of mercy toward Noah was actually one of civil disobedience with respect to a superior god. It was not Ea, but his more favored brother Enlil (Egyptian Shu), who determined that both gods and men had sinned and it was all going to come to an end. The words and actions of both of these venerated gods became twisted together as the One in the Biblical narrative.6
The Creation Story of Genesis is a highly condensed and stylized version of far older Sumerian and Babylonian accounts. For example, Genesis only briefly mentions the Elohim ("the Gods") in passing. We must learn about the individual members of the ancient pantheon from Mesopotamian sources, and by comparing them with the mythologies of Egypt, Canaan, Greece, India and even China and the Americas. In ancient Egypt, all eight of the major male gods of the ancient pantheon, including Ptah/Khnum and Shu, were once merged in the cult of Amen, "the Hidden God." A Leiden papyrus reads: The Eight gods were thy first form, until thou didst complete them, being One ..."7 The Greeks equated Amen (also spelled Amun and Amon) to their supreme god Zeus (Zeus-Ammon), who also embodied the full godhead. The genesis of the Biblical concept of the "One God" is to be found in this same theological creation of ancient man.t
- See next Chapter for further discussion.
- Abridged quote from Alexander Heidel, The Babylonian Genesis, pp 67. See also J. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts, pp 99-100.
- Rosemary Clark, The Sacred Tradition in Ancient Egypt, p 65.
- Translation in James Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, pp 37-41.
- James Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, p 99.
- The root nef was used to form both male and female names, e.g., Nefertiti and Neferhotep.
- Alexander Heidel, The Babylonian Genesis, p 118. Berossus was a historian in 3rd Century BC Mesopotamia.
- Psalm 51:5
- John Anthony West, Serpent in the Sky, pp 58-60.
- Rosemary Clark, The Sacred Tradition in Ancient Egypt, p 76.
- Everett Fox, The Five Books of Moses, The Schocken Bible, Vol. I, p 16.
- Genesis 3:1
- a The word genesis is defined as "the coming into being of anything; origin; creation."
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.
- Jonathan Kirsch, Moses: A Life, p 65.
- Kabbalah: The Way of the Jewish Mystic, p xvi-xvii.
- Hebrew word definitions from Strong's Exhaustive Concordance.
- Heike Owusu, Symbols of Egypt, p 85.
- Barbara Watterson, Gods of Ancient Egypt, p 190.
- Isaiah 41:25; Jeremiah 18:6; Romans 9:20-21.
- See Chapter 6 of this book for an in depth comparison of Amen and Jehovah.
Ri/Re means "bright" or "shining." Cf English words ray, radiate, etc.
There is a close resemblance between the names Marduk and Eridu(k). Marduk is translated by Sitchin as "son of the pure mound." This elicits the memory of the mound of creation, which arose from the watery chaos. A mound is also a tell, i.e., an elevated ancient city. Therefore, Marduk again connotes "City of the Son." In Latin, the root mar signifies the sea, as in the English word marine. The Via Maris ("Way of the Sea") was the major road along the Mediterranean coast leading into Egypt. Eridu was also a city originally founded on the edge of the water.
Enki was called Ptah in Egypt, and his son was indeed called Re in that region. In Egyptian, the word mr (as in Mar-duk) stands for more than a mere mound, city, house or temple. It is the word for pyramid.
Neit and Tefnut have Hebrew derivations. Tef is the Hebrew tsaph/tseph meaning an extension or covering. Nut is related to Hebrew words netophaph (5199) "distillation" and natsah (5327) "expelled," as in water vapor/condensation. Natah (5186) denotes "stretched out" or "stretched forth," as the atmosphere is spread over the earth. The Hebrew word natash has a similar connotation to natah. The name of bellicose Neit can be derived from the same Hebrew words. Natash cited above denotes "smite, join (battle)." Natsah cited above connotes "desolate, be laid waste." Natah cited above connotes "overthrown, cause to yield." The matching connotations and denotations of these words link the two forms of Nut and Neit. In the case of Neit, also compare the Hebrew words nathaq (5420) "to tear up," and nathats (5422) "to tear down, destroy," and topheth (8611) "a smiting."
Cf Hebrew word taphar (8609) "sew" and Tefnut/Neit, goddess of weaving.
Cf The Canaanite goddess Anat, corresponding either to Neit, or to the Egyptian goddesses Nut or Nephthys. There seems to have been a tendency for goddesses to pass down titles and epithets to their daughters, even as gods did to their sons.
Zecharia Sitchin concludes that the blood of the slain Kingu was used as a solution for fertilizing the mortal ovum with the sperm of Enki.
The twisted flax is one of four ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs corresponding to the modern letter "h", and the particular one found in the name Ptah. It is pronounced "with the throat more constricted than in English h, producing more of a hiss but not a rasp." (Stephane Rossini, Egyptian Hieroglyphics, p 9.) In the twisted flax hieroglyph, the flax thread is first folded such that the head and tail are brought together. The resulting loop is then twisted about itself. We now know that "when two strands of DNA wind around one another in the double helix they do so 'head to tail'..." (Susan Aldridge, The Thread of Life, p 37) Serpents are highly unusual in that they can do more than pleasure their partners in the '69' position. Both male and female snakes have two sets of sexual organs. This enables them to actually mate in a 'head to tail' fashion!
The twisted flax ('h') appears to have been deliberately incorporated into words connoting life, but this is only a conjecture. For example, the twisted flax (h) combined with the quail hieroglyph (w) has the meaning (hw): "the genius of the creative utterance." (Stephane Rossini, Egyptian Hieroglyphics, p 30) Other words employing the twisted flax hieroglyph include mummy (sah), phallus (hnn), long life (wah), ointment (wrh), and grain (wahyt). The names of a number of gods include this hieroglyph. Examples would be Hapy, Ihi and Thoth (Dhwty). A pair of twisted flax hieroglyphs (hh or nhh) stood for eternity. Pictorially, the two twisted flax hieroglyphs were separated by a circle hieroglyph. (Stephane Rossini, Egyptian Hieroglyphics, p 16) However, the twisted flax hieroglyph possibly occurs too frequently to make these kinds of generalizations.
To quote more from Susan Aldridge (p 55): "Organisms whose cells do not have a nucleus (or at least not one surrounded by a membrane like the eukaryotic nucleus) are called prokaryotes. Their DNA lies free in the cell, usually in a closed loop." The DNA of species with cell nuclei (eukaryotes) is looped in another way. "Even bacteria, with their streamlined genomes, have had to evolve efficient packing strategies to pack their DNA into their cellular suitcases. ... If it was left as a single loop it would never fit into the cell. In 1963 Jerome Vinograd discovered that looped DNA can exist in a 'supercoiled' form inside the cell, where the sides of the loop are further twisted around one another ... the two sides of the loop wind round another over and over again." (Aldridge, p 58) DNA is packed within cells as loops within loops. One of the most familiar of ancient symbols, the ouroborus, is the snake drawn in a closed loop, which appears to be swallowing its own tail. Real-life snakes do not swallow their tails. Real-life DNA appears to do so.
In the Book of the Dead (Spell 175), the god Re promises the deceased, "You are destined (to live) for millions of millions of years. But I will destroy all that I have created; this land will return to its state of Primeval Ocean, to the watery state, like its first state. I am that which will remain with Osiris, when I have changed myself back into a serpent that men cannot know, that the gods cannot see." (Translation by: Meeks and Favard-Meeks, Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods, p 18).
It may be modern man's greatest conceit that he is the most intelligent and advanced species that has ever explored the Universe, or even walked the Earth. Yet, it isn't possible to "prove" that ancient man (or his gods) understood genetics, or had knowledge of biological structures that can only be seen today with electron microscopes. Has Zecharia Sitchin gone too far in suggesting that the ancients had scientific knowledge of DNA? Quite likely. However, mythology does indicate that "wide understanding" was once imparted by the double-serpent-god Ea to an adept named Adapa. (J.B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts, p 101). Would "Genetics 101" not have been part of the curriculum? Moreover, someone or something had to first impart that knowledge to the so-called gods.
tur (variants twer and ster) to turn, whirl (e.g., turbine, storm)
turban, a scarf wound around the head
turn (root ter-2 to rub, turn; with some derivatives referring to twisting)
tower, a round structure
tour, literally "to make a circuit"
from Old French tour, turn, circuit, from Latin tornus (Cf Greek tornos)
The diminuative or femine ending -et (which would be transliterated into Hebrew as "ah") implies a fine or tight twisting.
turret, "a small ornamented tower. military. A low, heavily armored structure, usually rotating horizontally." (e.g., a tank turret)
Etymologies from the New American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.
In Divine Encounters, Zecharia Sitchin favorably compares the "pro-life" Mesopotamian god Ea (Sumerian Enki) with the Biblical Yahweh. Nevertheless, Sitchin ultimately rejects this association, because he finds in Yahweh attributes of other leading Mesopotamian gods, especially Anu (the Canaanite El, "father of the gods"), Enlil (a strict disciplinarian) and Ishkur (a god of storms and mountains). Sitchin notes that the Assyrian supreme god Asshur was not unique, but actually a composite of Enlil and his father Anu. However, Sitchin does not also consider that Biblical Yahweh was the result of theorizing by the ancient royal family - the same family who had earlier "created" the super-god Amun.
From a Leiden papyrus translated by Alexandre Piankoff, Mythological Papyri, Bollingen Series XL, 3, Pantheon Books, New York, 1957, Vol I, Texts, p. 12.
See commentary by Robert Temple in The Crytal Sun, p 365.