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Acacia

by Alex Hopson
The gods are said to have been born underneath the goddess Saosis' Acacia tree, north of Heliopolis. Horus was supposed to have emerged from the tree, according to the pyramid text 436. The book of the dead refers to the tree as:

'I betook myself to the Acacia Tree of the [divine] Children.'

[The Chapter Of] Entering into the Hall Of Maati to praise Osiris Khenti-Amenti.

'Homage to thee, O Lord of the Acacia Tree, whose Seker Boat is set upon its sledge, who turnest back the Fiend, the Evildoer, and dost cause the Eye of Ra (utchat) to rest upon its seat,'

- A hymn of praise to Ra when he riseth upon the horizon, and when he setteth in the land of life.

Later legends linked the tree not only with birth but also with death and the afterlife. According to the 'Book of the Dead' some children lead the deceased to the Acacia tree. The coffin texts also refer to the Acacia tree; they state that parts of the Sacred Acacia tree of Saosis 'squashed and bruised' by the deceased. These parts were then said to have a magical healing effect.

The Ancient Egyptians put the acacia to many uses. The 'Sont' (Arab name) or 'Acacia Nilotica' (Latin name), was used for: handles of tools, wooden pegs or nails, cramps, idols and small boxes or parts of cabinets for which a hard compact wood was required. The seed pods of the 'Acacia Nilotica' and the bark of the 'Sealeh Acacia' were both used for tanning. Other varieties of Acacia found in the interior or on the confines of the desert were used as the shafts for spears. The Acacia tree also produces a gum.


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