And, apparently, this idea of the Sacred Four was big with a variety of ancient Guy walks into a bar oh wait thats me shirt : Canaanites, Babylonians, Assyrians, Mandaeans, Hyskos, Goshen, etc. In fact, according to Nibley, there’s an old Jewish tradition that says that Adam was composed of the four elements, too, gathered together as dust from the four quarters of the Earth, and that when we die, our bodies are returned to dust and scattered to the four winds, and when we’re resurrected, they’re brought together again. The Egyptians had a similar myth stating that the four gods were the four elements, and that they came together to form Man.
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This is sometimes referred to as the “quaternary Guy walks into a bar oh wait thats me shirt ,” and it seems to have centered in Heliopolis, or On from the Bible. Heliopolis was regarded by Egyptians as the exact center of the world and the place of “beginning,” where all life went forth from to fill the world. There was also a lot of back and forth with the ancient Jews and Egyptians in Heliopolis: Abraham was said to have taught there, Joseph of Egypt lived there, Moses was supposedly from there, there was a temple, the mythical throne of Solomon was carried there after his death, there was a large, thriving community of Jews living there, etc. That’s also the place where the four Canopic jars motif seems to have originated…at least in Egypt. Nibley proposes they may actually have been Syrian originally.