The ancient Egyptians used basin irrigation in their agricultural practices which not only watered but naturally fertilized their fields. The Nile River is the lower watershed of the Ethiopian highlands and the recipient of mineral enriched sediment that amends the topsoil. In ancient times, the Nile would create a floodplain to a depth of 1.5 meters. In mid July the river began to rise gently in the south and reached flood stage at the first cataract in mid August. The flood would then surge northward and reach the end of the valley about five weeks later. The farmers would capture the sediment by enclosing plots of land with dikes. The flood water was held fast giving the fertile silt and sediment time to settle. The surplus water would then be returned to the watercourse by breaching the dikes. July 17th is still celebrated as the "Night of the Drop" when the celestial tear fell and the Nile began to rise. Tatenen was the totem of this cyclical inundation and may be translated as "Realm of the Rising Mounds." The hieroglyph of Tatenen is accompanied by the sign for cloth.
In prehistoric Egypt, the watercourse of the flood would have evolved through the agricultural practices of farmers. Mounding the topsoil onto higher ground and digging ravines for water drainage would have eventually created permanent canals. The perennial flood waters would have traveled the same course both rising and receding.This circulating watercourse may have been called a kikker. "And Lot lifted up his eyes and beheld all the kikker of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar." The floodplain of Jordan, although contained because of mountain ranges on each side, would fit the description of basin irrigation. However, because of the rapid descent of the River Jordan (Jordan means the descender) sedimentation would have soon been depleted. Unlike the Nile kikker, farmers of the Jordan floodplain would have had to eventually amend the soil. The floodplain in Guyana is similar to the Nile watershed and is farmed by descendants of African slaves. They call their basin irrigation system a koker which corroborates the definition of the similar kikker.
After the Nile began to recede, the dikes would be breached allowing the excess water to drain. The sun would dry the soil enough so that the plowing and planting could begin. A plausible word used to describe dike breaching is the Hebrew word shalaish which has cognates meaning to set seed. The definition of shalaish is "striking repeatedly" and/or "to impale." The rim of the dike would be slashed repeatedly and impaled with farming implements to create a ditch for the water to escape. A slow flow would be desirable so that valuable sediment remains in the basin. There is a noticeable similarity of shalaish and slash but also to shalosh the Hebrew word for three. Three slash marks is a ubiquitous symbol with a meaning lost to antiquity. Perhaps it represented breaching the dikes and release of water.
After the crop harvest, an important task would have been to repair the breaches in the dikes. The predictable flooding required advanced planning to prepare for the next cycle of sediment capture. An inevitable invention would have been a sluice gate. A sluice gate precludes the need for the repeated slashing and building back up of the basin embankment. Another benefit would be the ability to regulate the amount of water released. With a sluice gate installed, the dike could be permanently fortified and unintentional breaching could be deterred. Sluice and shalosh may have both evolved from shalaish. Watching the operation of a sluice gate, the word slice also comes to mind.
The single most important connection between heaven and earth was the moisture delivery system. Famine, disease and death were directly correlated to an absence of water. Understanding and controlling the water cycle was the foremost duty of the priestly class. They compared the heavens to the earth (as well as the human body) and tried to control hydrology by the obsessive creation of rituals. The priests interpreted the heavens as a kikker and releasing water must be through a similar device. Stars were the sluice gates of heaven and must be tears in the fabric of the firmament. Opening the sluice gates of heaven required ritual that focused on the body of the Pharaoh - especially in death. Celestial is another shalaish word and comes from the Greek word for heavenly bodies. A tear (water droplet) comes from the tear (laceration) but linguists say there is no connection. Tear and slash have about the same meaning.
The cloth of Tatenen was viewed as the earthly fabric of the kikker woven from one thread without any seams. Likewise, the continuous flow of the Nile was one thread that carried the life-giving silt and sediment throughout all farmland. Weaving with one thread could more accurately be described as or knitting or tatting. Weaving requires both warp and weft threads but tatting depends upon one continuous flow of yarn. If the Pharaoh was to be the pure light then the"veil of the horizon" (wrappings) would need to be tatted. Tait was the goddess responsible for mummy wrappings and also the fine linens that clothed the votive statues. Woven cloth is relatively rigid whereas tatted "lace" or intarsia is flexible, can be drawn closed or stretch when filled. Supermarkets sometimes provide tatted shopping bags that stretch to accommodate produce but shrink closed when empty.
The Wab priests were also known as Priests of Purity performed their duties in pristine linen. They were closely associated with Tait and were responsible for the health of the Pharaoh. Their primary duty, or at least, their only duty that can be confirmed, is to retrieve the bat to be used in an unknown potion. The bat was probably the Egyptian fruit bat or Egyptian Rousette. This bat had to be retrieved on the correct day at the correct hour supposedly to achieve the most benefit to the potion. The Rousette is proven to be the pollinator of the hinna plant called Khepre by the ancient Egyptians. The Edenic name of this bat is atalleph and is cognate to many words that mean to suspend.
The Rousette would be an appropriate totem for the suspended veil that divides heaven and earth. In fact, it does appears to be the creature depicted on the Was Scepter. In some iterations of this scepter, tear drops or rain is cascading down the shaft. In other funerary art, the Was Scepter is shown holding up the night sky. The striking resemblance to a tatting hook make the Was Scepter a fitting totem for the goddess Tait to tat the Veil of the Horizon.