One People, One Planet, HON!

The Horus Temple at Edfu

1979, watercolor, 26¼” x 32”

As students of Egyptian mythology, Bob and Zohara Hieronimus found their time spent in the Egyptian temples to be full of deep mystical experiences. Hieronimus was particularly taken with the Horus Temple at Edfu, which is in an almost perfect state of preservation. He painted this watercolor in 1979 after his return to the States. It shows the exterior of the temple with a near-complete statue of Horus as the Hawk on the left, and a fragment of the partner Hawk head and chest on the right.

But the really extraordinary site was inside this temple where there are preserved the inscriptions describing the Mystery Plays of Horus. Horus was a complex deity of ancient Egypt, but at his essence he was a god-made man. Conceived by the goddess Isis and the posthumous Osiris, Horus represents the perfected state for mankind. His stages mark the stages of spiritualization, or how to realize the divine principle within. Originally known as something more like Heru (for “he who is above”), Horus is actually the Greek name for this deity, whose Mystery Plays were so effective they were copied and repeated in Greece and in Rome. Carl Jung referred to these community teaching experiences as participation mystique. Using the dramatic to instruct the traditions of the temple mysteries through symbols, initiation was made possible, and it was believed that divine beings would communicate through the players.