The House of the Hidden Places, by W. Marsham Adams, , at sacred-texts.com
CLOSE to the verge of the immense desert which stretches its arid wastes across the whole breadth of the continent to the shore of the Western Ocean, just at the apex of the famous delta which marks the meeting point of Upper and Lower Egypt, at the very spot where the busy life of the earliest civilization on record was bordered by the vast and barren solitude, stands the most majestic and most mysterious monument ever erected by the
hand of man. Of all the other structures which made the marvels of the ancient world, scarcely a vestige is left. Where are the hanging gardens, the boast of the monarch of Babylon? Where is the far-famed Pharos of Alexandria? Centuries have passed since earthquake laid low the Colossus which bestrode the harbour of Rhodes; and a madman's hand reduced to ashes the temple of Artemis, the pride of Ephesus. But the Grand Pyramid of Ghizeh still remains undestroyed and indestructible, ages after the lesser marvels have passed away, as it stood ages before ever they came into being. Certainly more than fifty, it may be more than sixty, centuries have gone by since that building, which never since has needed the care of man, first concealed from view its hidden places, those secret chambers of which no other building on the globe contains the like. Upwards of two million times has the sun risen and set upon its mighty walls, since first the pure and
unbroken surface of polished casing-stones flashed back the rays like a veil of dazzling lustre, and vindicated its ancient title of The Light.
What the concealed significance may be of that secret masonry; by whom, and for what purpose, the complex plan was designed; at what epoch the huge structure was erected, are questions which have perplexed many minds in many lands, and have resulted in a discord more akin to Babel, than to the grandeur of its silent majesty. It was built by the Jews in the days of their captivity, says, or rather said, one school of theorists. It was built by Chemmis, but attributed by Egyptians in hatred of him to the Shepherd Philition, is the account given by Herodotus. It was built by Ibn Salluk, say the Arabs, just before the Flood, to preserve the royal treasures from the predicted inundation. It was built by Melchisedec—or somebody—vehemently asserts the Scottish professor of astronomy,
who seems always to write in a whirlwind of miscellaneous indignation. It was indisputably intended by the founder for his tomb, one party stoutly maintains,—a tomb in which he left especial instructions that he should not be buried, and in which nobody could possibly have been buried, replies another. It was an observatory, maintains a third,—where every place for observation was carefully closed up, retorts a fourth. It is the "prophetic floor-roll of human history," screams Professor Smyth,—with all the dates gone wrong, softly sneers Mr. Flinders Petrie.
Side by side with that masonic mystery, well nigh as impenetrable at the present moment as when the Hir Sheshta, or "Master of the Secret," was an officer of Pharaoh's household, has come down to us another enigma, the strange collections of sacred writings, or Ritual * of Ancient Egypt, which
modern writers have called the "Book of the Dead," but which claims for itself the title of the "Book of the Master of the Hidden Places." Vivid as is the interest now awakened in those writings, little progress has been made in elucidating their meaning. The doctrines inculcated by their religion, the relations of the worshipper to the object or objects worshipped, the signification of the particular symbol under which those relations were at once veiled and expressed, are but little better understood at the present time, notwithstanding
our greatly increased knowledge of the sacred writings, than when the hieroglyphs themselves were undeciphered. Yet, strange to say, prominently as these mysteries stand out in every matter that relates to ancient Egypt, no one has hitherto thought of collating the masonic secret of the monument with the doctrinal secret contained in the mysterious books of Thoth, to whom the origin of Egyptian wisdom is attributed. * Such an omission is the more singular, because indications are not wanting on either side to hint at the connection. That Khufu (miscalled by the Greeks, Cheops) should have adopted the pyramidal form in the hieroglyph of his name is not surprising, as he was the monarch under whom the building was erected. But it is not perhaps unworthy of notice, that the form of the Pyramid enters into the hieroglyph of the
star Sothis, or Sirius. * For the Grand Orient, or position of that star when its rising forms the immediate harbinger of dawn on midsummer morning, was, as is well known, the great starting-point for the age-long cycles of the Egyptian reckoning. And whereas the figure usually employed to denote the Pyramid embraces both the edifice and the rocky platform on which it is built , the form used in the hieroglyph of Sothis consists of the masonic portion alone , that is to say, the structure which represented to the Egyptian mind the Eternal Light, apart from its earthly support; while a Papyrus dating from the time of Khufu, the founder of the building,
speaks of Isis as the ruler of the Pyramid; and a later inscription, that of Syene, calls her also the "Mother of God," and identifies her with "The Divine Sothis, the Star, the Queen of the Heaven."
On the other hand, the sacred writings, or Ritual of ancient Egypt, are full of allusions which become vocal only when applied to the Pyramid of Light. Such are the festivals of the "Northern Passage" and of the "Southern Passage," that of the "Hidden Lintel," that of "Osiris, who dwells in the roofed house" and in the "Pool of the Great House." So in the Kalendar of Esne, we read of the "Festival of the Sockets," and again of the "Opening of the Doors," which is closely connected in the Ritual with the "Chapter of the Orientation," and the raising of Osiris from the Open Tomb. The whole progress of the Departed seems, in fact, to take place in some kind of building. The Ritual is full of references to his "Going in" and "Coming out," to "Going in after
coming out," to passing gates and gateways, and doors and staircases. Nay, the very titles employed, whether in the written or the masonic record, point directly, though secretly, to each other. Where else, if not in these chambers, so jealously concealed, the like of which not even the later pyramids contain, shall we look for the Hidden Places, the master of which is claimed for its own master by the "Book of the Dead"? Again, hundreds of years before the date of the principal papyrus containing those writings, as early as the twelfth dynasty, the inscription on the coffin of Amamu, buried in the sacred city of Abydos, makes a similar allusion, and shows that the secret places determine the order of the Ritual. "Thou hast not gone dying, thou hast gone living to Osiris. * Now
thou hast found the words of order, the mystery of the secret places."
What a sudden significance, then, attaches to the title "Ta Khut," "The Light," whereby the Grand Pyramid, that monument of flame, was known to the Pharaohs, when, turning to the sacred papyri, we find the title of the opening chapter to be the Pir M Hru, or Entrance on Light—that is, not the light of common day, which the deceased was quitting, but, as is shown by the image of the setting sun, wherewith the descent of the tomb was always associated, of the invisible Light of the Unseen World, renewed for ever in the splendour of Osiris. For the doctrine contained in those mystic writings was nothing else than an account of the path pursued by the just, when the bonds of the flesh being loosed, he passed through stage after stage of spiritual growth, until initiated in the new birth and illumined in the hidden life, he became indissolubly united with him whose
name, says the Egyptian Ritual, "is Light, Great Creator." And that path which the Ritual gives in writing, the grand Pyramid of Light materializes in the masonry.
In the double symbolism of Pyramid and Ritual lie both the chief difficulties of decipherment and the strongest evidence of their correspondence. For as the departed in his progress was to become united in the fulness of intimacy with his Creator, so it was necessary that he should progress in the knowledge of the mysteries which envelop alike the spiritual and the material creation. To know Osiris in his forms of manifestation was the secret of power, to "understand Osiris in all his names, Osiris in all his places," conferred the crown of illumination. But in the attainment of that infinite knowledge there were many stages which must be traversed by the finite mortal, many grades which must be achieved by the holy departed, when the mouth of the tomb, the
portal of Eternal Day, had been opened for him, and the Catechumen of the Divine Wisdom had been admitted as the Postulant of Immortality. The "inner man" or "person" of the deceased, the "Ka" (or postulant with the upraised arms, ) must be re-created in incorruption, the soul must be born anew, before that postulant could be initiated into things divine; the Initiate must pass the fiery ordeal, and become approved as Adept; the Adept must be justified in the Tribunal of Truth, before he could emerge from the shadow of the Halls of Death into the immediate presence of the Source of Light. The Justified must become the Illuminate, the Illuminate must be consummated as Master, before he could attain the innermost mansion in the divine house of Osiris. For each of such grades, according to the creed of Egypt, the Creator has assigned a distinct locality in the great exterior manifestation of Himself, the universe of space; and each of these localities
is described symbolically in the books of the mystical Ritual, and inscribed masonically in the features and the dimensions of the Hidden Places of the Pyramid.
Not to every one therefore did that house lie open, nor could there be a more unpardonable offence than the profanation of its secrets. "This Book," says the final chapter of the Ritual, "is the greatest of mysteries. Do not let the eye of any one see it; that were abomination." So, too, the secrecy enjoined by the Ritual was enforced by the structure of the building; nor was it ever violated so long as Egypt remained Egyptian. And as it was the characteristic of that religion to be concealed, and as the manifestation of the Creator is deeper and more secret yet than the knowledge of His works, so it was essential that the symbols relating to Him, and to the connection of man with Him, should not betray their deepest mysteries even to the Initiate; but should reserve their more secret meaning for
the Illuminate after full probation. Here, then, was the problem which lay before the first Hir Shesta, the "Master of the Secret," the originator of the "wisdom of the Egyptians;" to express, but in expressing to conceal, to veil, but with a veil of light, the mysteries of the Deity; to choose such symbols as would without betraying their nature convey their living energy, their illuminative power, and, above all, their illimitable endurance. No ordinary image, it is clear, no mineral, no animal, no plant, no man, could suffice for an expression such as this. Only the orbs of heaven, obeying in their lustrous course the laws that know no change, could fulfil the required conditions. Alike in the pictured and the masonic record the path of the just is traced amid the shining worlds, and his progress measured in the terms of celestial motion.
A remarkable instance is that of the orbit of the earth, involving a knowledge of the
rotation of the earth on its axis, and its revolution around the sun, on which rested the ancient kalendar of Egypt. The "Lord of the Orbit" (Neb Sennen) was a title of the Egyptian monarch. And in the Pyramid we find the orbit, together with many other phenomena masonically expressed on the walls of the magnificent and unique upper Chamber of Ascent. Similarly, another great astronomical conception, viz. the horizon, runs not only through the "Book of the Dead," but through all the funereal imagery of the country, as in the "Sai-an-Sinsin," or "Book of the Migration of the Soul;" and in that of Queen Anchnes-ra-neferab and other papyri. What horizon then is the "horizon of heaven," to which such mystery attaches, and what is its apex, the Grand Zenith of the celestial dome? We have no such general conception, and consequently our ideas of the celestial mechanism lack something of simplicity. But suppose that on the day of Equinox, the equal
division of light and darkness, we are standing on the Equator, the equal divider of the earth into the hemispheres of North and South, and that we take up our position, say at the point where it is cut by the meridian of Memphis, close to the lake from whence flow the waters of the life-giving river. At our feet is spread the great plane, passing through the celestial poles, and bounded by the Purple Arch which encircles the floor of the starry dome. From the midst of our Horizon on that day rises the sun right upwards, * and at the summit of his course, where day by day he equally divides the heaven East and West, on that day alone he equally divides also the Grand Arch, or Grand Meridian, which rises transverse from the same horizon, and stretches from pole to pole of the azure depths. Then we shall
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The “Horizon of Heaven”
have marked out the four Cardinal Points of the universal sphere—the four points whereby the sides of the Pyramid of Light were defined; the fiery seats, according to the Egyptian theosophy, of the four "Sons of Light," whereof the most famous was Hapi, the presiding Spirit of the Nile. Into that Grand Horizon too, when the equal day is done, the sun passes beneath the Western waters. And out of it, the whole host of stars, from pole to pole, in serried array, each preserving his appointed distance from the solar path, follow him through the silent night—the "night of reckoning the spirits;" one-half springing into light as their leader disappears, the rest completing their numbers, just in time to herald his return from the Eastern point of the same Grand Horizon. "The road is of fire," says the Ritual;"they whirl in fire behind him."
Now this horizon seems strikingly indicated by the entrance passage of the Grand Pyramid,
which, as is well known, may be defined by reference to the position of the pole-star. For, taking as the date of the IVth dynasty that given by Dr. Brugsch (about B.C. 3700), * we find that about two hundred and sixty years later (B.C. 3440), the pole-star of the period (Alpha-Draconis) occupied, as Professor Smyth has pointed out, just that position; so that it would shine right down the passage. And thus the disciples of the Master of the Secret, who in successive generations must have watched for more than two centuries the approach of the star, would receive in its final co-ordination the most convincing
proof of the truth of those astronomical relations, wherein their mystical religion was embodied. Hence when we read in the Ritual, of the "Good Paddle of the North the Opener of the Disc," we recall at once the narrow paddle-shaped passage widened at the entrance towards the North, which opens the sacred interior to the outer universe; the pointer of the dial which sweeps through space, indicating perennially the position occupied by each successive star, which for a brief period of centuries keeps watch before the pole.
Taking in our hands now, the sacred writings of the Pir M Hru, let us approach the masonic Light; and opening the book at the first chapter, where Thoth the Eternal Wisdom commences to instruct the catechumen freed from the corruption of the body, let us with him penetrate the interior of the building, and take such a preliminary view of its secret places and their analogues in the Ritual, as
may enable us to study more deeply the twofold expression of that masonic mystery. Reciting chapter by chapter as we mount, grade by grade along with the Catechumen of Light, we approach at the fifteenth step a gateway two courses yet above us, just as the catechumen in the fifteenth chapter approaches the "double gate of the horizon," the double-arched gate which points towards the pole-star; when he invokes "Haroeris the great guide of the world, the guide of the souls in their secret places, the light dwelling in the horizon." From this point the first veil of secrecy begins. For so effectually was the opening concealed from the uninstructed eyes by a revolving stone, that the position, once lost, was impossible to recover; and for two hundred years after passing under the barbarous Omar, the building remained impenetrable, until Caliph Al Mamoon, in the ninth century of our era, forced an opening at random through the solid masonry, and hit accidentally upon the
entrance passage. Entering by the low gateway, thus built in the Northern side, at a considerable height above the ground, we have before us the passage of the horizon of the point of Equinox, which, while descending Southwards into the depths of darkness, points Northwards towards the star of the Purple Arch. As we cross the gate on the seventeenth
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Gate of the Ascent. Northern Face: Course xvii.
course we recognize the point where, in the seventeenth chapter, the catechumen is admitted as a postulant, and exclaims, "I go from the Gate of Taser (the Ascent). What
is the gate of Taser? It is the gate where the god Shu (the Light) lifts the disc of heaven. The Gate of the North is the Gate of the Great God: "he continues, speaking evidently of the same gate; exactly as in the Pyramid the only entrance is the Gate of the Ascent in the seventeenth course of Northern face. Bidding now with him farewell to the light of earthly day, and treading the descending passage, we pass, some little way down, a very fine and beautifully ruled double line, * scored perpendicularly on the
slanting wall so as to point downwards to the foundation, and separating the upper section of the passage where the Departed in the Ritual is bereft of every faculty except that of motion, from the more advanced portion where his mental faculties are gradually restored to him. Continuing the long descent, we arrive at an aperture in the western wall, and passing through the opening thus disclosed mount gently into a kind of grotto at the bottom of the Well, a square perpendicular shaft, with footholds cut in the precipitous sides. Into that chamber of the Deep Waters the postulant descends on the Western side, as the sun at the close of day goes down into the Western waters, and bursts forth in splendour on the hidden world. From the top of the shaft a level passage runs to the place of the divine birth mentioned in the Ritual, the Chamber of the Moon, where, according to Egyptian teaching, Osiris each month renewed his birth. In that chamber,
once rigidly blocked up, the liberated soul was born anew; and thence it came forth to descend the ladder of the shaft, as we see in the papyrus of Ani, * and to become re-united with the postulant awaiting it in the Well of Life. Then, when the soul is restored, initiation takes place and strength is given to endure the ordeal.
Returning from the bottom of the well to the Passage of the Horizon, and pursuing our course still further downwards, we come, after a short level continuation, to the subterranean chamber or the Place of the Central Fire, where the initiate undergoes his ordeal; a chamber hewn out of the solid rock, and having an inaccessible floor covered with huge blocks of varying height resembling a pool of petrified flame, or the masses of the mountain chains formed by the action of the earth's central
fire; while beyond that terrible chamber a small passage leads to nothingness. Resuming our exploration of the edifice, and coming forth from the place of ordeal, as the Initiate, now become the Adept, turns back and avoids the place of annihilation; we remount the Passage of the Horizon until, at a little distance below the scored line, we come to a granite gate, or portcullis, built in the roof. This great gate, which originally was totally hidden by masonry and was only discovered by the falling of a stone when Al Mamoon was forcing his entrance into the pyramid, stands at the threshold of the Secret Places. Not only was the whole gate carefully hidden, but the lower portion of the passage within was blocked with enormous stones, still unremoved, and perhaps irremovable. So even now the Lintel is still hidden, and admission is only effected through a hole forced by violence in the wall of the passage above the blocks; while a precisely similar difficulty is experienced by the adept
in passing the Lintel of Justice before entering the Double Hall of Truth. Creeping with difficulty through the hole, we find ourselves in a small low corridor about one hundred and twenty-nine feet long, inclined upwards at an elevation slightly less than that of the depression of the Entrance Passage, and corresponding to the lower portion of the Hall of Truth where the adept justifies himself before the forty-two judges of the unseen world, "The Gods of the Horizon, and the Gods of the Orbit." Then, stooping beneath the low gateway, by which it is terminated (but not obstructed) at the top, "The Gateway of the Festival," we stand upon a kind of landing-place, from which the whole system of the interior passages opens out. On every side, is "the crossing of the pure roads of life" of which the coffin of Amamu speaks. On the Western side, is the mouth of the well, "The gate of Anruhf" leading down to the "roads of darkness." Before us lie the fields of
[paragraph continues] Aahlu, the blessed country where the justified executes the works, which he is privileged to perform for Osiris. "I have digged in Anruhf," he says later on, "I have drilled the holes," the holes, that is, for the good seed, the corn which grew seven cubits high, the holes which are drilled in the ramps of the Southern Ascending Passage, but to which no signification has yet been attached.
Beyond the fields, the road leads direct to the Queen's Chamber, the Place of the New Birth, where the soul received her second life; and here on the Eastern wall, within a staircase of five ascents, is a kind of niche or image, the "type," to use the expression of the Ritual, into which the soul is new born with the fivefold dominion of the regenerate senses. From the same point also, at the head of the well, diverge the interior ladders on the coffin already spoken of. Sheer down, "the ladder which has been made for Osiris," descends into the well. Northwards, "the
ladder of Earth," slopes downward to the Hidden Lintel, the entrance of the upward path. Upwards to the South, but with a very slightly different inclination, runs the ascending passage, called by some writers "the Grand Gallery," forming the upper portion of the Hall of Truth, the Grand Lodge, or Luminous Chamber of the Orbit. This remarkable structure, consists of a corridor, about one hundred and fifty-seven feet long, and twenty feet high, built entirely on a slope, floor, walls, and roof, except a small portion at the Southern or upper end. On either side of the sloping floor, are twenty-eight ramps, each with a hole in it, a reference to which in the Ritual has been already noticed. And at the upper end the slope of the floor-line is closed abruptly, just above the Queen's Chamber by a block three feet high, forming a dais, or throne of judgment. From hence along the top of the block, or seat of the throne, the passage runs level for about sixty-one inches,
the wall at the side being not quite vertical, but impending very slightly towards the slope. At the back of the throne the gallery is brought to a termination, by the Southern wall closing down in seven over-lappings within forty-two inches of the seat and leaving as an exit further South, a narrow and grave-like tunnel. In the sloping roof of the gallery, running downwards from South to North at a somewhat greater inclination than the floor, are thirty-six overlappings, like the waves of a river of light, and corresponding to the number of decades in the orbit of the Egyptian year. And on the side wall of the dais at the upper end of the gallery are also seven overlappings, one above another, arching over to the summit; while in the position corresponding to that occupied by our own globe among the planets, runs a deep groove or orbit along its entire length. Thus we are confronted with a vivid connection between the Orbit and "the Passage of the
[paragraph continues] Sun" in the Double Hall of Truth, the Lower Hall of Truth in Darkness, and the Upper Hall of Truth in Splendour, with the Throne of Radiance at the higher end. And above that throne rises the habitation of the seven great spirits in the service of their Lord, the Creator, who, the Sacred Books tell us, "protect the coffin of Osiris."
Now comes the most mysterious portion of the building. Stripped of its noble proportions, and reduced to an altitude so low, that a man must creep on hand and knee to pass, the passage pierces the southern wall of the Grand Gallery, and runs straight on, first into the Ante-chamber, or "Place of Preparation," and then into the splendid hall called the King's Chamber, in the most secluded portion of the building. In each of these halls is one and only one object. In the antechamber is a kind of masonic veil, which no one can pass without bowing the head. In the King's Chamber is a sarkophagus, not
closed, but open; while the air channels wherewith this deeply buried room is amply ventilated proclaim that it is not a chamber of the dead, but of the living, the place of "the Orient," where, in the Ritual, Osiris is awakened from his slumbers. In this portion of the building the structure changes its material for granite, forming, as it were, a house by itself within the Pyramid, an inner House yet within the House of Osiris, entered by the low and grave-like passage leading from behind the throne. This is the House of Glory described on the coffin of Amamu already quoted, the house to which the Illuminate approaches after passing the tribunal of Osiris. Here is the "Gate of the pure spirits," which they alone can enter who are washed in the waters of Life and radiant with the splendours of the Orbit. And here, too, it would seem, takes place the solemn address described in the Sai-an-Sinsin, "of the Gods in the House of Osiris," followed by the response
of the "Gods in the House of Glory;" the joyous song of the holy departed who stand victorious before the judgment seat, echoed triumphantly by the inner chorus of their beloved who have gone before them into the fulness of light. Above is the "Empyrean Gate" ("the opening of Athor," as the Ritual calls it), which leads to the "Secret Places of Heaven;" the ascending spaces above the King's chamber, once completely closed, and constituting the innermost, the loftiest, and the most secret of the Hidden Places. And the whole is dominated and crowned by a gigantic triangle of granite, masonically expressing the divine Trinity of Egypt.
Such is the complex and hitherto unexplained system of gateways and passages, shafts, channels, and chambers; some leading upwards, some downwards, some level; some rough in the last degree, others exquisitely polished; some magnificent in their proportions, some so low that a man must creep,
so narrow that he can with difficulty pass, to be found within the Pyramid of Light. It is absolutely unique; no other building, it may be safely averred (not even the later Pyramids), having contained any structure bearing the least resemblance to the higher chambers. Striking as it is in every feature, the most remarkable circumstance of all is the evident intention of the architect to preserve that secrecy which lends a majesty to the strange theosophy of Egypt. What then was the design, the secret and jealously guarded design, with which this wondrous edifice was constructed? That its various features are meaningless, or the mere result of caprice, is a suggestion to which the forethought and lavishness of calculation displayed in every detail unmistakably give the lie. Nor again can we maintain that they are necessary for the purposes of an ordinary tomb. For, in the first place, they are not to be found in the other Pyramids, which were used for that
purpose; and, secondly, if there be any intention which the architect has openly manifested, it is to create such a series of obstructions, that no human body could be buried therein.
In truth, the Grand Pyramid is the House of a Tomb; but it is not a closed, but an open tomb. It is the tomb not of a man, but a god; not of the dead, but of the risen. It is the tomb of the divine Osiris, whose birth on earth, descent into the under-world, victory over the serpent Apep, resurrection and judgment of the dead, were the most prominent features in the creed of Egypt, and in union with whom the holy departed achieved the path of illumination, and passed in safety the divine tribunal.
Viewed in this light, the practical value of the structure begins to become clear. On that doctrine rested the whole organization of social life amongst the ancient Egyptians. The kalendar, the festivals, the duties of the monarch, the rights of the priesthood, the
relations of the provinces to their paramount temples, all were illustrated in the Path of Light. Endless confusion therefore in the State would result, no less than injury to the religion, from any misconstruction, or misrepresentation of doctrine (such as seems to have taken place under Khu en Aten); a circumstance all the more likely to occur, on account of the obscurity of the symbols employed.
Now the masonic symbolism of the Grand Pyramid affords a simple and practically indestructible means for perpetuating without betraying the doctrine of Egyptian wisdom. That expression, once formulated, was never repeated; the other tombs and Pyramids of Egypt claiming kinship only by subordinate and particular features with the work of the Grand Master. While then the written records of the Ritual, none of which now extant probably possess a higher date than that of Khufu, were liable to change and error, no
lapse of time could impair, no variation could affect in the secret places, the masonry of the Pyramid of Light. This embodiment, at once secret and unalterable, forming literally a Masonic Ritual of the whole doctrine of Light, accounts for the singularly piecemeal fashion in which the sacred words were committed to writing. During the first three dynasties one chapter alone has a dim traditional claim to have been written, while one other is said to have been revealed to Men Kau Ra, the grandson of the builder of the Grand Pyramid. And though on the later Pyramids sacred inscriptions begin to appear, it is not until the XIth dynasty that they become at all common. Of the various chapters so published (that is, used as inscriptions or written on papyri) at different times, there have been, as Mr. Budge mentions in his "Treatise on the Mummy," four principal recensions. The first is that of the Ancient Empire, written in hieroglyphics, to which the important inscription on the coffin of Amamu
belongs. Then comes the Theban recension, also in hieroglyphics, of which the papyri have been with great labour collated and published by M. Naville; followed during the succeeding dynasty (XXth) by another written in the Hieratic (or priestly) characters. And last of all, we have the recension of the XXVIth or Saite dynasty, to which is due the great papyrus * now preserved at Turin, of which
[paragraph continues] Lepsius published a facsimile in 1846, consisting of upwards of one hundred and sixty original, with three supplementary chapters. Now it was during that recension that the order of the chapters is said to have been fixed for the first time. What canon then, or standard of order, did the revisers employ? It certainly was not the relative antiquity of the chapters, for the only one which claims to remount to the Ist dynasty stands one hundred and thirtieth in the papyrus, while that which is attributed in it to the IVth dynasty—and which is entitled
[paragraph continues] "The Entrance on Light in one Chapter," as though it had once been the single chapter in use—comes sixty-fourth. But the answer to the question appears to be contained in the last of the supplementary chapters; for the papyrus proclaims the key to be within the reach of all who understand in full the masonic secrets. "This Book," it says, "is the Book of the Master of the Hidden Places." And in those Hidden Places therefore the Secret of the Master of the Hidden Places, the "Mystery of the words of order," as the coffin of Amamu says, is to be found. This is the version, therefore, which we shall compare with the Ritual in stone, its predecessor by more than three thousand years; the very magnitude of the intervening period serving to exhibit in a more striking light the closeness of the correspondence. Nobly indeed does that stupendous monument respond to the mystic title which it bore. Surrounded by darkness as profound as that which the Almighty has
made His secret place; in the midst of scenery invisible to the eye, but faithfully pourtraying the glories of the celestial expanse, the Grand Architect has set up the throne which the lapse of ages has had no power to impair, and has immutably inscribed in its secret places the immutable path of the just in characters of light, embodied in the immutable motions of the heavenly orbs.
4:* This title, which was conferred by Champollion, is vehemently repudiated by Mr. Budge, though without p. 5any particular reason assigned. But it appears to me to be as good a word as any which can be used as a popular expression; though doubtless the Catholic term, "Office of the Dead," would be preferable if it were sufficiently familiar to our ears. The title "Book of the Dead," devised by Lepsius, appears to me, I own, singularly unfortunate. For in the first place the Papyrus is not a book, but a collection of sacred writings; and in the second, that title appears to refer to the practice of burying copies or parts of the copy with the mummy; so that it gives the idea of regarding the holy departed as dead; whereas the whole conception of the doctrine was the entrance of the departed on life and light.
6:* M. Maspéro courteously informs me that the same idea has occupied himself, but that he has not published.
7:* When a star rises, not simultaneously with the sun (in which case the star would be invisible), but just so long before dawn as to appear for a few moments on the horizon before it is swallowed up in the growing light, it is said to rise "heliacally," and "the heliacal rising of Sothis" on the day of the summer solstice, or midsummer—an event which occurs every 1461 years (viz. four times 365¼)—was the epoch of the Egyptian secular cycle.
9:* More correctly written Ausar; but in this and other sacred names I have kept the older spelling, not as being in any way preferable in itself (which it certainly is not), but in order to avoid introducing a fresh and not absolutely necessary element of unfamiliarity.
16:* The conception here described, though not explicitly defined by our astronomers, is implicitly contained in the terms Right (or direct) Ascension, the mounting straight upwards of the stars; and Declination, or the falling off on either side from the equinoctial plane.
19:* In deference to the very high authority of Dr. Brugsch, on all matters connected with Egyptian history, I have adopted, and still adhere to the date which he estimated for the Grand Pyramid. The recent discoveries of Mr. F. Petrie may perhaps point to an earlier date; and the question cannot be considered as settled; but on such a point the general harmony with other historical records is the supreme test: and of that knowledge none was more skilled than the great master whom we have recently lost.
23:* The detection of this line is connected with a circumstance of a highly singular character, which seemed at one time to lend some appearance of support to the historic theories of Professor Smyth. It was due not to any measurer or observer of the Pyramid, but to a student who had never seen the building, but believed that if the professor's theories were correct, some such special mark would point out that particular spot. Examination being made—for the professor had never noticed it—the prediction proved to be true; an act of divination which would have been remarkable enough if those theories had been true, but which seems strange indeed when one considers their palpable error.
25:* I am indebted for this illustration to Mr. F. Compton Price, the well-known expert in ancient characters, who has just completed the splendid facsimile of that papyrus for the Trustees of the British Museum.
38:* An English translation has been published by Mr. Birch, in Bunsen's "Place of Egypt;" and one in French has been produced by M. Pierret. While speaking on this subject, it is impossible to refrain from a regret at the almost incredible carelessness with which the papyri, relating to every kind of topic, have been scattered loose-cast over half the museums of Europe, without the preservation of any general account of their contents, or even of their existence. Some are to be found at the Bodleian; others at the Louvre; others, again, in the museums of Bologna, of Naples, of Turin, of Leipsic, of Berlin, of Copenhagen, of Stockholm, and of Rome; while our insatiable sarkophagus, the British Museum, entombs them by the thousand. If France, the country to which belongs so distinguished a record in these matters, could be induced to join with us in urging the Government of Egypt to issue a Commission for the p. 39 purpose of requesting from the various European Governments the fullest possible information with regard to the papyri and other relics of ancient Egypt, which they may happen respectively to possess, a favourable answer would doubtless be returned; so that a mass of invaluable evidence would be opened up, wherein we might not unreasonably hope to trace the action and inter-action of the religious, political, and economical factors in that complex constitution. And thus material might be collected for commencing a general Encyclopædia of Archaic Sociology; and possibly for founding a science of organic society in its concrete development.