Saturday, December 24, 2011


Aker (Akeru, Akerui)

Symbols: akhet
Aker was an ancient earth-god in Egypt. He was believed to guard the gates of the dawn from which the sun rose each morning. He was portrayed as a double-headed lion, or a two lions sitting back-to-back. In between them is shown the sun with the sky overhead. In this way they form the akhet symbol, which was a symbol of the horizon. Occasionally they were portrayed bearing the akhet on their backs (as in the image to the right).

The two lions were called Sef and Duau, which means "Yesterday" and "Today" respectively.

As Egyptians believed that the gates of the morning and evening were guarded by Aker, they often placed statues of lions at the doors of their palaces and tombs. This was to guard the households and tombs from evil spirits and other malevolent beings. Sometimes they gave these statues the heads of men and women. The Greeks called this class of statuary, "Sphinxes."

It is believed that Aker is probably a more ancient earth god than the Heliopolitan god, Geb.

Ancient Egypt: the Mythology - Aker
In Egyptian mythology, Aker (also spelt Akar) was one of the earliest gods worshipped, and was the deification of the horizon. There are strong indications that Aker was worshipped before other known Egyptian gods of the earth, such as Geb. In particular, the Pyramid texts make a sinister statement that the Akeru (plural of Aker) will not seize the pharaoh, as if this were something that might have happened, and was something of which to be afraid. Aker itself translates as (one who) bends, and thus Akeru translates as benders, though in what sense this is meant, is not fully understood.

As the horizon, Aker was also seen as symbolic of the borders between each day, and so was originally depicted as a narrow strip of land (i.e. a horizon), with heads on either side, facing away from one another, a symbol of borders. Since the sun reaches its peak (its solstice) in the zodiac of Leo, these heads were usually those of lions. Over time, the heads became full figures of lions (still facing away from each other), one representing the concept of yesterday (Sef in Egyptian), and the other the concept of today (Duau in Egyptian).

Consequently, Aker often became referred to as Ruti, the Egyptian word meaning two lions. Between them would often appear the hieroglyph for horizon, which was the sun's disc placed between two mountains. Sometimes the lions were depicted as being covered with leopard-like spots, leading some to think it a depiction of the extinct Barbary lion, which, unlike African species, had a spotted coat.

Since the horizon was where night became day, Aker was said to guard the entrance and exit to the underworld, opening them for the sun to pass through during the night. As the guard, it was said that the dead had to request Aker to open the underworld's gates, so that they might enter. Also, as all who had died had to pass Aker, it was said that Aker annulled the causes of death, such as extracting the poison from any snakes that had bitten the deceased, or from any scorpions that had stung them.

As the Egyptians believed that the gates of the morning and evening were guarded by Aker, they sometimes placed twin statues of lions at the doors of their palaces and tombs. This was to guard the households and tombs from evil spirits and other malevolent beings. This practice was adopted by the Greeks and Romans, and is still unknowingly followed by some today. Unlike most of the other Egyptian deities, the worship of Aker remained popular well into the Greco-Roman era. Aker had no temples of his own like the main gods in the Egyptian religion, since he was more connected to the primeval concepts of the very old earth powers.
FROM: Wikipedia
Aker embraces the world - he is represented as the sign of the horizon in-between two lions (sometimes these may be human forms instead) which are seated back to back (one animal faces west - where the sun sets each day and begins its journey into the night and Underworld, the other lion faces the east where the sun rises each morning free once more from the realm of darkness).

Aker guarding the entrance and the exit to the Underworld.
Ancient Egyptian mythologists believed that during the night the sun journeyed through a tunnel that existed in the earth - its entry into the tunnel caused the night, its emergence again bringing the day once more. Each end of this tunnel was guarded by a lion god, and the two gods were called Akeru (also known as Akherui):

Frist mention of Aker
Aker is an old god from ancient Egypt - he is first mentioned in the Pyramid Texts, and from the passages in which his name occurs is thought that he had a very clear and well defined role in the Early Egyptian kingdoms.

'Yesterday' and 'Today'
In the later period of Egyptian theology the two lions making up the Akeru were named Sef and Tuau - 'yesterday' and 'today' respectively.

Aker in the Egyptian home
Because the ancient Egyptians believed that Aker guarded the gates of the morning and night, statues of the lion god were placed at the doors of houses and also at tombs to guard both the living and the dead from evil spirits and more eartherly foes. These lion guardians were sometimes given the heads of men and women which turned them into a more recognisable form - that of the Sphinx.
FROM: Aker the god of Yesterday and Today

Other Sites

Egypt: Aker - Guardian and Gatekeeper of the Underworld
Aker Aker

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