Getting more out of your Luxor holiday – Mut temple

Currently the Mut temple requires special permission to enter it but we are all hoping it will be open soon. You enter through the avenue of sphinxes and the site consists of several temples and a horseshoe shaped sacred lake. Straight ahead is the main temple with 2 courtyards and the platform area. There are remains of Hathor headed pillars. The temple was variously built by Tuthmosis II, Ramses II, Seti II and Ramses IV. The platform area was Tuthmosis III, and there are examples of foundation blocks with joint cartouches of Tut III and Hatshepsut (Senumut’s name also is present). There is much mutilation during the Amarna period and then restoration by various kings like Tutankhamen, Ay and Horemheb. One of the discoveries from the site is a lovely statue of a queen of Amenhotep III. It actually has no name and could be Sitamun, Mutemewa or Tiye. The modus has cartouches of Amenhotep all the way round. There are many Sekhmet statues at least one for every day of the year and a wonderful large statue which is most impressive.
One the left is a temple of Amenhotep III which has the famous circumcision scene. It shows a grown man, teenager standing as he is being chopped. There is a similar scene down in Cairo which again shows a man rather than a child or a baby. Only the lower part of the walls is present. On the far right there is a Ramses II structure with some large statues and several rooms. Again the wall height is about waist high.
It was here that the Festivals of Drunkenness took place. Now being drunk was not socially acceptable. Much like today, and there is wisdom literature support that moral stance. However there is an aspect which encourages people to get drunk in order to experience God. This has links with the story of Hathor being made drunk in order to stop her destroying mankind. Mut is linked with Sekhmet and Bast which is why there are so many statues of Sekhmet from that temple. It seems that a part of the religious worship was to get so drunk you passed out and just before you did you experienced the divine. A bit like seeing the pink elephants in the Disney Dumbo film. They even had ‘designated drivers’ who would look after you so you could lose control in a very controlled situation.
Scenes of this are in evidence at tombs like Kahri at El Kab where the deceased family talk to each other and make remarks like asking for 18 jars of wine. In the tomb of Rekhmire the question is posed ‘Is it Maat to get drunk’ and the hieroglyphic for Maat is turned round indicating ‘Yes, go for it’. In TT38 there are scenes of vomiting. Phrases like ‘roaming in the marshes’ indicate that sexual activity is also an important part of this and associated with the Beautiful Feast of the Valley where you communed with dead relatives. In TT82 there is a song which talks of “rejoicing in drunken women”. Mut appears to have a role to play in the Eye of Re, which is an aspect of Hathor where she takes revenge on mankind when they don’t behave. So it would appear that Mut was of a good time girl.