Ancient Egyptians feared Apophis–the snake demon of destruction–with a depth we can hardly even imagine. The dreadful snake-beast represented the utter obliteration of everything everywhere–all light, all life, all hope.
They expressed this fear of the snake monster with stories: Every night, Apophis tried to devour the sun during it’s journey through the dark lands. The gods and all the dead pharaohs rose up to battle the beast.
|Gods battling the snake monster Apophis.|
It always came close but the gods pulled it out in the end so that Ra, the sun, would rise in the morning. To help the gods, priests performed long, involved rituals at sunrise and sunset to ensure the demon’s defeat. Woe to the priest who missed one of these daily rituals!
And what do you know–we are facing our own “Apophis Apocalypse” this very night! Astronomers named the asteroid that will skim by earth tonight Apophis. There’s no chance it will hit earth, but some worry that it will come dangerously close in 2036. After all, it’s coming within 9 million miles of earth, the closest asteroid approach so far.
What would it mean if the Apophis asteroid hit earth? Everything the Egyptians feared–chaos, darkness, death and destruction.
The scientist who named this asteroid certainly knew Egyptian mythology! Fortunately, we do not need to perform the rituals of the ancient priests, which included creating clay or wax effigies of the monster and then destroying them by throwing them, stomping on them, setting them on fire and then (and I am not making this up) urinating on them.