Just like Goddesses, Gods are the deifications of archetypal energies within the human psyche. The mythology of any religious tradition is, therefore, an attempt of that particular culture, to explain human behaviour and thought structures in a narrative, a storyline that is as entertaining as it holds deeper meaning on a physical, a mental/emotional and a spiritual level. If you'd like to find out more about other Gods, click here: Gods.
Flooded with Life
Hapi ist the ancient Egyptian God if the Nile inundation. His name literally means Nile, as can be found in the most ancient texts. He is, on rare occasions, depicted as a hippopotamus and his symbol is the lotus plant in upper Egypt and he is surrounded by crocodiles there, in Lower Egypt, it was the papyrus plant and frogs that he was usually depicted with. In some accounts, Meret is named as his consort. As the Nile flood deposited fertile soil along the banks of the River Nile, Hapi was greatly celebrated as this annual flood brought with it the fertile soil farmers needed to grow crops. A low flood could mean starvation, a high flood devastation.
Hapi is an ancient Egyptian deity and is commonly depicted as an androgynous creature with a swollen (pregnant) belly, a hulking frame and large, drooping breasts. He wears a loin cloth and ceremonial beard and is immortalised in hieroglyphics as an intersex person. Two of his titles are Lord of the Fish and Birds of the Marshes and Lord of the River Bringing Vegetation. Hapi was also seen as “the friend of Geb,” the Egyptian Earth God, and the lord of Neper, who is the God of Rain.
In mythology, Hapi was revered as the Father of Gods, due to his association with fertility. His rounded shape shows how well-nourished he is, and his hanging breasts symbolise him bringing a rich harvest due to the annual flooding of the riverbanks which would otherwise be desert as the land behind the fertile strips on either side of the largest river in Africa. His skin was usually coloured blue or green to symbolise water.
The Egyptians believed that the source of the Nile was in Aswan and that Hapi lived there in a cave. His cult was, therefore, located at the first cataract in Elephantine. The priests were not only involved in religious rituals but also measured the water levels and kept a detailed record which was then used to determine the flood predictions, whether it was a high or low flood or an even flow. The latter was paramount for a good deposit of soil on the banks of the river to ensure a plentiful harvest. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense for the religious cult to be focused on water levels and trying to appease the deity responsible and ensure the perfect water levels for the survival of the nation.
From One Make Two
During later times, in the 19th Dynasty, Hapi is depicted as two people tying together two plants around a hieroglyph that means union, referring to Upper and Lower Egypt. He is also often depicted pouring water from an amphora, or carrying offerings of food, both to symbolise abundance and fertility.
When I researched Hapi, I did so in bed, my laptop beside me. When I reached the above sentence, I fell asleep. Now three things might be important to know. The first is, that I never connected with Hapi before but only knew of him from archaeological and historical sources or mentioning in other books or articles online. I’ve had no prior personal experience with this deity.
The second thing is that I hardly ever remember my dreams. I do a lot of regular spiritual practices but keeping a dream journal, training in lucid dreaming, etc, are not amongst them at all. I don’t usually dream of deities to connect with them, either. I am usually in a meditative or fully alert state when these encounters happen. During the time I suffered a severe burnout, I slept around sixteen hours a day and I drifted between dimensions and in and out of sleep. Wadjet was quite often with me during that period of around six months before I slowly got better. But that aside, I cannot really recall dreaming so vividly of deities that I could have written about it to any greater extent. So when I tell you of my dream, you may appreciate the rarity of this occasion.
I slip into unconsciousness as my eyes close and the real world around me fades. Then – nothing. The next thing I know is standing in a river that stops around my waist. The man who is with me is taller, so the water only reaches below his waste. He holds a bowl and uses it to pour water over my head, over and over again. I wear a bit of linen draped around my waist and hips but otherwise, I am naked.
The man is Hapi, I just know it. But he is no ordinary man. His belly is rounded, like a woman’s would be when she is in the second trimester in pregnancy perhaps. His breasts are feminine also, hanging but the nipples are small, dark and pointed and even though I cannot see any milk leaking from them, I know, he could nurse a baby. While he ours water over me, he smiles. The sun shines, it is warm and the water running down over my body feels refreshing, clean and invigorating. I know it is clean enough to not only drink but rinse my entire body from the inside when doing so. Smiley-pants that I am, I smile back at Hapi with much enthusiasm. His smile is more serene but no less filled with warmth and a kind of universal loving affection.
“Why are you bathing me?” I ask him at length.
“Because you need it and it is time,” he tells me.
I ponder this. Water is the symbol of the emotions, it also has a spiritually cleansing property. It makes sense. I feel carefree, in the moment, and I have just rested after a short period of relative intensity, coupled with emotional stress. Also, my back doesn’t hurt which it usually does these days. And I have my period, another flow that always aggravates my back since my chronic spinal injury has become worse. I can definitely do with some free flow, in life, spiritually, emotionally and in my body’s energy flow. On all levels, really.
“I am here to cleanse you from fear, from trauma. This is the first of many baths we will have. Bit by bit, we will wash away however much you allow, and refill that space with clean, vibrant water that makes all your insides sing and dance. Just like the droplets in a wildly flowing river, healthy and strong.”
A Cleansing Bath
He keeps bathing me, pouring water over my head and shoulders, sometimes raising his other hand to run it over my collarbones or he makes me turn to stroke over my back, more gently than you would washing someone but not merely a caress. I am wholly absorbed in the moment, in the beautiful physical sensations and just revel in this feeling.
Until I awake again about an hour later, my finger is clicking on the mouse in rhythm. I am not sure, whether I started doing this as I was waking or throughout my dream. I’ve definitely clicked to and fro between open tabs and word docs a lot beforehand, so that probably shouldn’t come as a great surprise. And as I write this, Hapi’s voice sounds in my head, “Have a bath with Epsom salt. You should remember to do that more regularly.”
I guess, I am going to have a bath tonight. And I will also add some dried lavender blossoms and others I see before my inner eye that I have at home but forgotten the name of. Hapi has put that image there, so I had better listen, right? I think my body, my rump having some cramped muscles in places and my spine tingling (and I’m not talking the free energy flow kind of wonderful tingle but the “there’s something not quite right with the nerve” kind) can do with the relaxation – and healing. And I might just take a bowl to pour water from the bath over my head and shoulders to honour and thank Hapi.