Sacred Texts  Egypt  EHH Index  Index  Previous  Next 

p. 103




HAVING already briefly described the general character of the BOOK AM-TUAT and the BOOK OF GATES we may pass at once to the comparison of their contents. For the sake of convenience, in describing the various divisions of the Tuat let us assume that we are occupying the position of a disembodied spirit who is about to undertake the journey through the Tuat, and that we are standing at the entrance to the First Division awaiting the arrival of the BOAT OF THE SUN-GOD, on which we hope to have permission to travel. Every funeral rite has been duly and adequately performed, the relatives and friends of the deceased have made the legally appointed offerings, and said all the prayers proper for the occasion, amulets inscribed with magical names and formulae have been attached to the body, copies of sacred writings have been laid on it or near it in the tomb, the priests have said the final words which

p. 104

will secure for the soul a passage in the BOAT OF RA, and a safe-conduct to the abode of the blessed, whether this abode be in the boat itself or in the kingdom of Osiris. The result of all these things is that we have been enabled to pass through the tomb out into the region which lies immediately to the west of the mountain-chain on the west bank of the Nile, which we may consider as one mountain and call MANU, or the mountain of the Sunset. At this place are gathered together numbers of spirits, all bent on making their way to the abode of the blessed; these are they who have departed from their bodies during the day, and they have made their way to the sacred place in Western Thebes where they can join the BOAT OF THE SUN-GOD.

Some are adequately equipped with words of power, and amulets, and their ultimate safety is assured, but others are less well provided, and it will be the fate of many of these to remain in the place wherein they now are, and never to enter the HOUSE OF OSIRIS or the BOAT OF RA. They will not suffer in any way whatsoever, but will simply remain there, protecting themselves as best they can by any words of power they may possess until such time as they are overcome by some hostile being, when they will die, and take their places among the other dead spirits, having failed to present themselves in the Judgment Hall of Osiris.

p. 105

Now the dead who are in the various divisions of the Tuat do not, apparently, pass entirely out of existence; for, as we shall see later, they are revivified once each day by light which the Sun-god casts upon them as he passes through the Tuat, and for a season they enjoy his rays, and when, as he leaves one division to enter another, the Gate closes upon him, and shuts out his light, they set up dismal cries at his departure, and then sink down into inertness in the darkness which will swallow them up for twenty-four hours. It is possible that the dead here referred to represent the primitive inhabitants of the country, and the gods of the dead whom they worshipped when on earth, but there is no doubt that to these were joined the spirits of those who for some reason or other failed to advance beyond one or other of the divisions of the Tuat.

Now, however, the time of evening has come, and the Sun-god in the SEKTET BOAT, wherein he has travelled since noon, draws nigh, flooding the FIRST DIVISION of the Tuat with light. This DIVISION, or antechamber, or vestibule, of the Tuat is, according to the BOOK AM-TUAT, called NET-RA, and before the Sun-god can come to the dweller in the Tuat he must pass over a space which is said to be 120, or 220, atru, or leagues, in length. The river URNES, on which the boat moves, is 300 atru in extent, and is divided into two portions. On looking into the BOAT OF THE SUN-GOD we see that this deity has transformed himself, and that he no longer appears as a fiery disk, but as a ram-headed man,

p. 106

who stands within a shrine; in other words, Ra has taken the form of Osiris, in order that he may pass successfully through the kingdom of the dead, whose lord and god is Osiris. The name given to this form is AF, or AFU, which means literally "flesh" and "a dead body;" it was as a dead body that Osiris first entered the Tuat, and those who wished to become what he became subsequently had to enter the Tuat as dead bodies and with the attributes wherewith he entered it. The boat then contains the body of the dead Sun-god, or AFU-RA; he has with him a crew of seven gods and one goddess; one of these acts as guide (AP-UAT), another as steersman, another as the "look out," and the goddess, or "lady of the boat," is there as representative of the Division through which they are about to pass. Besides these we have KA-SHU, i.e., the "double of Shu," the god of the atmosphere of this world, who is present in the boat in order to supply the god with air; HERU-HEKENU, who recites magical formulae; and SA and HU, who represent the knowledge and intelligence necessary for the due performance of the journey. We may note that the boat moves by itself, and that the gods who form a procession in front of it do not tow it. As we have already described these in vol. i. (see pp. 4-8), it is needless to say here more than that they are all forms of the Sun-god, or deified aspects of him, and that they accompany their lord, who has transformed himself. Side by side with the boat of

p. 107

[paragraph continues] AFU-RA is a smaller boat, in which the coming into being of Osiris is depicted, and the beetle is there to typify the presence of Osiris, and to lead AFU-RA on his way through the DIVISION (vol. i., p. 7). As AFU-RA is preceded by a number of forms of the Sun-god, so the "form of Osiris," KHEPER-EN-ASAR, is preceded by a number of Osirian deities, three snakes and three goddesses, among them being NEITH of the NORTH, NEITH of the SOUTH, and the rare goddess ARTET (Vol. i., p. 7).

The direction in which AFU-RA is moving is northwards, and we may glance at the beings who are on the banks of the river of the Tuat. On the right hand are nine apes, "which sing to Ra as he entereth the Tuat," nine gods and twelve goddesses, who sing praises unto Ra, and twelve serpents, which belch forth the fire that gives light to lighten the god on his way (vol. i., pp. 12-15). On the left hand are nine apes, "which open the gates to the Great Soul" (i.e. AFU-RA), twelve goddesses, who open the gates in the earth, twelve goddesses, who guide the god, and nine gods, "who praise Ra" (vol. i., pp. 9-11). So soon as AFU-RA has entered this DIVISION (ARRIT) he calls upon the gods to let him proceed, and he asks for light and guidance from them; he bids one set of apes to open the doors to him, and the other to welcome him. As he is provided not only with the word of power, but has also the knowledge how to utter it, the gods straightway bid him enter the place where OSIRIS

p. 108

[paragraph continues] KHENTI-AMENTI dwells. The serpent goddesses sing hymns to him, and they lighten the darkness by pouring out fire from their mouths, the god takes possession of the grain which is in NET-RA, his word has its due effect upon every one, and the punishments which he adjudges to the condemned are carried out duly. As for the dead who are in this DIVISION they do not journey on with the god, but they are left behind (vol. i., p. 8), and when they see him pass through the fortified gate which guards the entrance to the SECOND DIVISION "they wail" (vol. i., p. 20). The texts say nothing about the actual condition of the dead whom AFU-RA leaves behind him, and nothing of the place, or places, whence they came; we can only assume that they are those who for some reason or other have failed to obtain a seat in the BOAT of the god. They must not be confounded with the gods and goddesses and apes who are in attendance upon AFU-RA, for these are, in reality, officers of the Division whose duty it is to escort him to the Gate of the Second Division, and then to return to their places to await his return the following evening. In return for their services they receive food and drink by the command of the god. As the Boat of AFU-RA was assumed by the priests of Amen-Ra to begin its journey through the Tuat at Thebes, and as we are expressly told that the god was obliged to pass over a space of 120 or 220 atru, or leagues, before he came to the dwellers in the Tuat, it is probable that the first

p. 109

group of dead are those who entered the Tuat through the opening in the mountains behind Abydos, which was called the "GAP." The oldest god of the dead of Abydos was KHENTI-AMENTI, i.e., Governor of Amenti, AMENTI, i.e., the "hidden" land, being a name for the Underworld, or Other World," in general. This being so, it is clear that when AFU-RA came to the end of the FIRST DIVISION of the Tuat he arrived at the beginning of the dominions of KHENTI-AMENTI, whose attributes became absorbed subsequently into those of OSIRIS.

In the BOOK OF GATES the FIRST DIVISION is depicted in a different manner. The BOAT OF THE SUN is seen passing through the mountain of the horizon, which is divided into two parts; the god appears in the form of a beetle within a disk, which is surrounded by a serpent with voluminous folds. The only gods with him in the boat are SA and HEKA, here the personifications of the intelligence and the word of power. The duty of SA is to make all plans for the god's journey, and HEKA will utter the words of power which will enable him to overcome all opposition. On each half of the mountain is a sceptre, one having the head of a jackal, and the other that of a ram; each sceptre is supported by the god TAT and the god SET, the personifications of the Tuat and the Mountain respectively. One sceptre is mentioned in the text, which is somewhat obscure in meaning; it seems, however, that the jackal-headed sceptre uttered words on behalf of the god AFU-RA, and that the other

p. 110

typified him, taking the place of the ram-headed god with a human body which we have in the BOOK AM-TUAT. On each side of the Boat are twelve gods, who presumably represent the Twelve Hours of the Day, and the Twelve Hours of the Night; one group is called "Neteru Set" (or Semt), i.e., "Gods of the Mountain," and the other "Neteru Set-Amentet," i.e., "Gods of the Mountain of the Hidden Land." The gods of the Mountain are the offspring of Ra himself, and they "emerged from his eye" (vol. ii., p. 85), and to them has Amentet been given as an abode.

Next: Chapter VI. Second Division of the Tuat. I. The Kingdom of Khenti-Amenti-Osiris According to the Book Am-Tuat