In Egyptian mythology, the Ogdoad (Greek “ογδοάς”, the eightfold) were eight deities worshipped in Hermopolis during what is called the Old Kingdom, the third through sixth dynasties, dated between 2686 to 2134 BC. First it was a cult having Hathor and Ra; later changing to a cult where Hathor and Thoth were the main deities over a much larger number of deities; and even later, Ra was assimilated into Atum-Ra through a merger with Atum of the Ennead cosmogony. The number eight plays an important part in Gnostic systems, and it is necessary to distinguish three different forms in which it has entered in different stages of the development of Gnosticism. The earliest Gnostic systems (such as the Ophites) included a theory of seven heavens, and a supercelestial region called the Ogdoad. Astronomical theories had introduced the conception of seven planetary spheres with an eighth above them, the sphere of the fixed stars. When the Valentinian system had established belief in a still higher place, the supercelestial space was called the middle region (Mesotes); but Ogdoad was clearly its earlier name. In the system of Valentinus, the seven heavens, and even the region above them, were regarded as but the lowest and last stage of the exercise of creative power. Above them was the Pleroma, where were exhibited the first manifestations of evolution of subordinate existence from the great First Principle. In the earliest stages of that evolution we have (Iren. I. i.) eight primary Aeons constituting the first Ogdoad.
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