How Thoth Invented Writing – a BunniHoTep tale
Once upon a time there was no way to write things down. There was no way to send a friend a note. No way to write a story down. No way to remember the words to a song. No way to say I am and have anyone remember who you were. The gods and goddesses were concerned about this. How could they let people know how to behave and who to pray to? How could anyone know what each god did? Isis and Osiris got together with the other gods and decided since Thoth always marked on the nice clean Temple walls with charcoal from the fires, he could put those scribbles to good use. So Thoth was elected by the group to find a way to do this. There was only one problem Thoth wasn’t there when they decided this. That’s what happens when you miss a meeting.
The gods also figured if he was god of wisdom and he found a way to do it he would have some way to record it and it would be a good thing all around. They thought Thoth might get annoyed so They sent BunniHoTep to find Thoth to tell him of his new job. Always send the smallest, fastest god when delivering interesting news. BunniHoTep hopped down Temple Row and found Thoth on his back porch staring at a big, blank, white wall with a piece of charcoal in his hand. BunniHotep told Thoth that Isis and the other gods had given him a new and important job; He was to invent writing and then She ducked and waited for the storm. The storm didn’t come and She raised her head. “Aren’t you mad?” She asked. “No”, said Thoth, “I think its what I’ve been waiting for all along.” And He started to mark on the wall. He drew an ibis and said to BunniHoTep, “Here is my name”. “ I think because the Great Cackler created the sun from an egg I will make an egg around all kings and gods names to show they came from the sun and the egg.”
He stood thinking to himself. “The gods are easy to show, a hawk for Horus, a cow for Hathor. This is way too easy.” He continued marking down the walls. He had completely forgotten BunniHoTep in his excitement. He went faster and faster down the wall naming everything he could think of to name. He only stopped when he started to run out of room. Then he got another idea and ran to borrow some ground stone paints some men were using to make enamel jewelry. He mixed them with water and quickly began to fill in the drawings He had made on the wall. The wall began to come alive with the symbols and the colour. Beautiful reds and blues and greens glowed from the wall.
Soon a crowd began to gather. Isis, Nepthys and Hathor brought their folding chairs and sat quietly watching at the birth of this wondrous thing. They wanted badly to ask what everything meant but they didn’t want to disturb his concentration. They sat and watched and waited as the white walls came to life with the colour.
BunniHotep sat in Isis’s lap totally entranced with the rest of the goddesses. But finally she couldn’t keep quiet any longer. “ How do you say we are here?” She asked, breaking the silence. Thoth stopped for the first time in hours and took a deep breath. “Hmmm,” He mused. “ I don’t know.” I have drawn the story of the soul’s journey and I have named us all. I’ve told how to make and offering and what sort to use but I haven’t found a way to say that we exist. But I think I know now.” He lifted an eyebrow at Isis and she nodded back.
Thoth faced the wall again and drew a new character, a small rabbit running. “ In honour of having the courage to speak up and because you had the courage to come tell me about my new job when the others wouldn’t I shall make you the sign that we exist. That we have come into being.”
BunniHoTep smiled shyly from Isis’s lap. “ Thank you” She said very quietly. Thoth went on drawing and painting and they all passed the afternoon in peace watching Thoth and offering suggestions when He asked.
And that was how writing was invented and why we say “Be hare now” when we cast a circle.