Monday, April 5, 2021

The Egyptian Shen Ring, Cartouche,
and The Circumpolar Stars
( Symbolism and Mythology ):

                          The Circumpolar Stars - Image via Wikipedia

"The sight of the stars makes me dream."
- Vincent Van Gogh

All of us have probably seen a time-lapse photo of the night 
sky which shows the stars circling around the polar center. 
This phenomenon is caused by the earth rotating on its axis 
and the center of this stellar rotation is the point in the 
heavens to which the earth's axis is aligned.

These stars which rotate around the polar center are called 
the Circumpolar Stars. The Circumpolar Stars which are 
nearest to the polar center never set below the horizon of 
the earth. As the distance from the polar center increases, 
the outermost stars do disappear below the horizon for a 
period of time only to reappear at some later time.

The Circumpolar Stars which do not disappear below the 
horizon were referred to by the ancients as the Eternal 
Ones or the Imperishable Ones. It is these stars which 
were considered to be the heavenly domain of all souls 
which returned to the cosmic spiritual realm once their 
incarnation on earth was completed.

Furthermore, it is these Circumpolar Stars, which never 
disappeared below the earth's horizon, which Symbolized 
the branches of the World Tree in the various mythologies 
of our planet. And it is these Circumpolar Stars that are the 
subject of this article, and, the basis of the Symbolism of 
the Egyptian Shen Ring.

Egyptian Shen Ring and Cartouche - Image via Wikipedia

The Shen Ring is a Circle tied to a horizontal bar; a Circle 
tied to a straight line. The Circle Symbolizes the eternal, 
"The All", the cyclical, and the Source of all physical 
manifestation. The horizontal bar Symbolizes the horizon, 
the earthly, the linear, the temporary, and the manifested.

Therefore, the Shen Ring is a Symbolic reminder that 
temporal linear Time ( the horizontal bar ) is tied to, and is 
only a temporary manifestation of, the ever-repeating 
Cycles of Eternity ( the Circle ).

Furthermore, the horizontal bar represents the earth's horizon
while the Circle represents the Circumpolar Stars which never
set below the earth's horizon. This again reminds us that the
temporary manifestations which appear on the earthly realm 
are only a small part of the vast and eternal Cycles of the 

It is also a reminder that we are all tied to, and thereby are a 
part of, eternity. Furthermore, it is also a Symbolic reminder 
that all personal, societal, and worldly achievements and 
failures are nothing more than a temporary linear "moment" 
occurring in the unknowable vastness of eternity.

The Horizon tied to the heavens Symbolizes the finite 
( temporary ) tied to the infinite ( timeless ); "as above, 
so below".

The Shen ring can also be equated to the upper portion of 
the Egyptian Ankh

In ancient Egypt, in order to insure that the Pharaoh's 
precise  name and memory would endure for all eternity, 
and that he, or she, would become one with the 
"Imperishable Ones" mentioned at the beginning of this article, 
the hieroglyphs which spelled out his (or her) name were to 
be inscribed within the protective Circle of the Shen Ring.

However, since the hieroglyphs required to properly spell 
out the Pharaohs name took up more space than was
available within the Shen Ring, an adjustment to the Shen 
Ring became necessary. This was resolved by elongating 
the Shen Ring into what is today the familiar cartouche.

Cartouche is a fairly modern French word which means 
"cartridge". During Napoleon's expedition to Egypt, his soldier's 
noticed how similar this elongated Symbol was to the 
cartridges they used in their own rifles. Therefore they named 
this Symbol a "cartouche"; a term which has since become 
the commonplace expression of this ancient Symbol.

The important thing to remember about the cartouche is that 
it contains the title of the person being referred to. It does not 
contain the birth-name of that person; only the title name.

A great many Lessons are handed down to us from ancient
Egypt; and they mostly refer to the Pharaoh. However, Keep 
in mind that, although the lessons handed down to us from 
ancient Egypt pertain to the Pharaoh of the kingdom, we too 
are the Pharaoh of our own personal kingdom. Therefore, the 
lessons which are addressed to the Pharaoh pertain to us just 
as well. And it is in our own best interest that we understand 
and adhere to these most ancient Lessons; so that, when our
Incarnation on this plane of existence in finished, we too can
join our Spiritual Ancestors - The Imperishable Ones - who 
occupy the Circumpolar Region in the heavens.

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Disclaimer: None of my articles should be considered to be
either advice or expertise. They are simply personal opinions
and no more. Everyone is encouraged to seek competent
advice from a licensed, registered, or certified professional
should such advice or service be required.

© copyright Joseph Panek 2021
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