(Anhur) A divine warrior and desert hunter, Onuris is depicted as a man wearing a crown with either two or more often four tall plumes – a headdress which is frequently interpreted as representing the four winds – wielding a lance and a lasso or a lance alone. His name means ‘Bringer of the Distant One’, and it seems thus that of the many Gods who are placed in the role of bringing the ‘Distant Goddess’ – a wrathful Goddess depicted as a lioness – to Egypt from a semi-mythical land to the south or southeast, Onuris may well lay claim to being the original, and his consort, Mehyt, to being the original ‘Distant Goddess’. A love spell from the Greek Magical Papyri (PGM X. 10f) invokes the assistance of Onuris that the object of the spell “be well disposed toward me … having seen me, let her fall in love with me, and no one will be able to speak in opposition…,” apparently drawing upon the myth of the Distant Goddess in expectation that Onuris will be able to attract the object of the spell toward its operator just as he convinces the Distant Goddess to come back with him to Egypt. Arensnuphis, who plays essentially the same role as Onuris in a different version of the myth, is similarly invoked in a spell “to obtain favor” (PGM XII. 182f).

Onuris is mentioned in the Conflict of Horus and Seth as a partisan of Horus, but has no other role in the myth. His connection to Horus here alludes, however, to his participation in a myth involving the hunt to return the Eye of Horus, stolen by an oryx, this myth providing yet another layer of meaning to Onuris’ name.

A further dimension to the character of Onuris comes from the irresistable tendency to link Goddesses featuring in the ‘Distant Goddess’ myth with Goddesses functioning as the ‘Eye of Re‘, that is, as the defender of Re and the executrix of his will in the world. Onuris is thus depicted bearing the ankh, sign of ‘life’, in the midst of the forbidding darkness of the ‘Land of Sokar‘ in the fourth hour of the Amduat book, which recounts the solar boat’s nighttime journey through the netherworld. The appearance of Onuris here seems to relate at once to the desert terrain of this hour, as well as to the darkness in which the solar boat has been plunged, which is represented by the separation of the solar eye from the boat itself. In the register below that in which Onuris is depicted, fourteen heads wearing solar disks are shown, indicating the fourteen days of the waxing moon, in which the Eye of Horus, the wedjat, returns to fullness, its light having been ‘brought from afar’.

The sole reference to Onuris in the Coffin Texts is CT spell 768. In this spell, a God who is addressed throughout without being named is identified at one point as “You who have come into being, Khepri who is in the flood, whom Nun made as Onuris.”  Onuris is referred to in ways that allude to the myth of the Distant Goddess: “You whose heart aches for the Sacred Eye … You who go and return safely.” The God in question is also called “you whose name is one and whose faces are four,” perhaps in reference to the four plumed crown Onuris wears. Awareness seems to be the spell’s principal theme. The deity in question is addressed by the recurring phrase, “If N. [the deceased] be aware, do not be unaware of him. If you know N., N. will know you,” and the deity is characterized as “you who see all … you with a perceiving heart.” At one point, the operator requests that the deceased be empowered with a similar consciousness: “Let N. know of the tens, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions, all the universe about you … You who measure everything, you who number those who sleep, he [the deceased] will number those who sleep.” Could this association with awareness be a further dimension of Onuris as one who ‘brings from afar’?

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