The Egyptian Neters - Part II
by Billie Walker-John
To begin our review of the Neters of Egypt
and the cities associated with them, it will prove helpful to
realise that the Pharaonic Egyptians differentiated their concept
of creation into four successive parts. This differentiation,
while usually seen as separate events, was actually a 'successive
becoming', or theogony, of one continuously evolving concept.
The four stages were:
Atum (or Ra) at Heliopolis,
Ptah at Memphis,
Thoth at Hermopolis,
Amun at Thebes.
"All the gods are three: Amun, Ra and
Ptah, who have no equals. He whose nature [literally - whose name]
is mysterious, being Amun; Ra is the head, Ptah the body. Their
cities on earth, established forever are: Thebes, Heliopolis and
Memphis [stable] for eternity. When a message comes from heaven,
it is heard at Heliopolis, it is repeated at Memphis to Ptah and
it is made into a letter written in the letters of Thoth [at Hermopolis]
for the city of Amun [Thebes] ." The Leyden Papyrus .
From the ancient Egyptians the
mystery of mysteries was the 'becoming' of the Creator from the
Unseen into the Seen, the One manifesting as Many. This becoming
was revealed through the above mentioned four cities and their
temples. In the Leyden Papyrus, the beginning of this becoming
is termed: when a message comes from Heaven . It is through this
idea of a 'message' that we shall follow the progress of the becoming
from Heaven to Earth.
The message is said to be heard
at Heliopolis because this city was considered to be "the
ear of the heart" ; Heliopolis, being the city of the
Sun, and in the esoteric texts the sun was deemed to be the 'heart'
of our solar system - thus the solar Heliopolis was the heart
of Egypt. It is also to be understood in this context that the
name Heliopolis, as used in the esoteric and funerary texts means
"the absolute origin of things"  and it is not to
be thought of only as being strictly confined to the physical
city of that name. When it is said in the texts: "I have
come from Heliopolis" or "I am going to Heliopolis"
the initiatic meaning is that "I have existed from the beginning"
or "I am returning to the Source" .
The One who began the 'becoming',
according to the teachings given at Heliopolis, is Atum. This
name has the meaning of 'All' and 'Nothing', signifying the great
potential of creation as yet unmanifest. Atum is one with Nun,
the indefinable cosmic ocean, and his first act must be to distinguish
himself from Nun. This emergence is shown as happening in any
one of three versions:
Atum, as All, emerges from Nun
as the primordial hill, and thus begins to realise himself. The
primordial hill provides him with a support, or foundation from
which to work ie., begin further realisations. Thus established
he creates further supports - Shu and Tefnut - which according
to the Pyramid Texts he 'spits out' and 'expectorates' respectively.
Shu can be thought of as the principle of space and Air, while
Tefnut is the element of Fire.
The second version presents a
more earthy creation. "Atum gave birth to himself through
masturbation at Heliopolis" as the Pyramid Texts state it,
then Shu and Tefnut are created.
In the third version Atum creates
himself through the agency of "projecting his heart"
 and thereafter he brings forth eight primary principles which,
including himself, constitute the Nine, the Great Ennead of Heliopolis:
Atum: Shu: Tefnut:
Geb (the earth): Nut (the
Osiris: Isis: Seth: Nepthys.
These last four represent the
cyclic nature of life, death and rebirth. The Pyramid Texts state
that "none of these entities is separate from him, Atum".
If these versions of creation
seem fantastic, i.e. unbelievable, to the rational mind, then
it is because they are taking place outside of the limits of terrestrial
time and beyond the realm of temporal happenings for this creation
is taking place in the Heaven World - not upon the earth. As R
A Schwaller de Lubicz states in Sacred Science:
Such mysteries are not to be
grasped by the reasoning process of the mind's intelligence. 
Esoteric Mysteries rarely make
sense to the mind's intelligence and simply because they require
a different medium of perception/reception before they become
comprehensible and this different perception is defined in Symbolist
terms as 'the intelligence of the heart'. In speaking of the Neters,
we are speaking of the expressions of this intelligence of the
heart and of the Mysteries as they were conveyed in Pharaonic
Egypt. In Helipolis, 'the absolute beginning of all things', we
are dealing with the primal mystery, Atum, who becomes One and
then Two and on up to Eight, as stated in a Coffin Text:
I am One that transforms
I am Two that transforms into Four
I am Four that transforms into Eight
After this I am One
(Coffin of Petamon, Cairo
Museum no: 1160) 
This division or differentiation
makes possible polarisation and as is the nature of polarisation
we have the positive and the negative. Pharaonic Egypt expressed
these contending forces most notably as Horus and Set.
We have seen how the 'message
from Heaven' was 'heard' in Heliopolis as Atum began the 'becoming'.
Now we must turn to Memphis and Ptah for the next part of the
 R A Schwaller de Lubicz - Sacred Science
Inner Traditions International Ltd, Rochester, VT, 1982 pages
 Isha Schwaller de Lubicz - Her-Bak, Volume
Inner Traditions International Ltd, New York, 1978, page 156
 Sacred Science - page 192
 Lucie Lamy - Egyptian Mysteries: New Light
on Ancient Knowledge
Thames & Hudson, 1981, page 9
 Sacred Science, page 188
 Egyptian Mysteries, page 9