Breathing Life Into Myths

While Mythicist Milwaukee visited Egypt recently, we toured the temple of a Queen of Egypt from ancient times - that of Queen Hatchepsut. She was an interesting character who did everything she could to get into power and stay in power. This included inventing a story about her divine birth in order to take the throne from the male heir. 

Hatcchepsut was born to Queen Ahmose and King Thutmose I. After the king died, Hatchepsut made up a story of how Egypt's supreme deity at the time, Amen-Ra, impregnated her mother - and she had her story backed up by Egypt's high priest. 

When we heard this story, bells went off. A god blowing into a woman to impregnate her? Sounds like a familiar tale that may have been borrowed and modified throughout the years. Below is a summary of Queen Hatshepsut's story, followed by a few other religious tales that share this motif.

Queen Hatshepsut - Ancient Egypt

Ruled: 1479-1458 BC

Hatshepsut (or Hatchepsut) was the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty in Egypt's New Kingdom. She is generally regarded by egyptologists as one of the most successful pharaohs, reigning longer than any other woman of an indigenous Egyptian dynasty. 

Her rise to power went against all the conventions of her time. She was the first wife and Queen of Thutmose II and on his death proclaimed herself Pharaoh, denying the old king's son, her nephew, his inheritance. To support her cause she claimed the God Amun-Ra spoke, saying "welcome my sweet daughter, my favourite, the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Maatkare, Hatshepsut. Thou art the King, taking possession of the Two Lands." She dressed as a king, even wearing a false beard and the Egyptian people seem to have accepted this unprecedented behaviour.

In the depictions, Amun-Ra appears with the unborn Hatshepsut and then with her mother (Queen Ahmose) in the form of Hatshepsut's father (Thuthmosis I). Amun impregnates the queen with his divine breath then reveals his true nature and fortells that Hatshepsut will rule Egypt. Amun-Ra then visits Khnum to instruct him to create Hatshepsut´s body. A heavily pregnant Queen Ahmose is led to the birthing chamber by Heqet and Khnumwhere she is assisted by Meskhenet. In the final scenes, the newborn Hatshepsut and her Ka are suckled by twin Hathors while Seshat records her birth.

Toward the end of the reign of Thutmose III and into the reign of his son, an attempt was made to remove Hatshepsut from certain historical and pharaonic records. This elimination was carried out in the most literal way possible. Her cartouches (name in hieroglyphs) and images were chiselled off some stone walls in her temple, leaving very obvious Hatshepsut-shaped gaps in the artwork.

Isa (Jesus) - Islamic Religion

Allegedly lived: 7-2 BCE (sources vary extremely on this date)
Story written in the Quran: ~850-950 CE (AD) (sources vary on this date)

In verses 21:91 & 66:12 of the Quran, Allah says that he breathed into Maryam's (Mary's) shirt/empty space/vagina (various sources translate this differently) in order to conceive Isa (the Islamic Jesus).    

    "And she who guarded her virginity, so We breathed into her of Our spirit (roohina) and appointed her and her son to be a sign unto all beings." S. 21:91     

    "And Mary, Imran's daughter, who guarded her virginity, so We breathed into her of Our Spirit (roohina), and she confirmed the Words of her Lord and His Books, and became one of the obedient". S. 66:12.



Adam - Christian Religion

Allegedly lived: ~4,000 BC (sources vary on this date)
Story written in the Bible: ~500 BC (sources vary on this date)

This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens- and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth] and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground- the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." Genesis 2:4-7

Based on what we conclude, we doubt Queen Hatshepsut knew what she would inspire when she invented the story of her divine birth. We pulled the stories from the Bible and the Quran only because they are the most relevant religions in modern times. 

There are many more stories that explain gods or god men impregnating humans. Can you name any others?