Omowale Jabali : Beyond the White Veil and Other Black Matter



The gate which leads into the ELEVENTH DIVISION, or HOUR, is called SHETAT-BESU, and the name of the
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monster serpent which guards it is AM-NETU-F. Mummied forms guard the corridor between the walls .of the outworks, but the place of the company of gods who usually stand outside is occupied by two sceptres, or standards, one of which represents SAR, i.e., Osiris, and the other HORUS. The god AFU-RA enters this DIVISION in the form in which he has hitherto appeared, and he is towed by four gods who belong to it; we see, however, that APEP has not been wholly removed from the path of the god. The serpent lies here (vol. ii., p. 287) in fetters, and a company of the servants of AFU-RA who live in this DIVISION stand ready to attack him with the knives which they hold in their hands; their sceptres betoken their position as chiefs in the DIVISION. Next come four apes, each holding a large hand, and these stand, according to the text, two on the right and two on the left of the abode of the god; they hold up the Disk of the god, and sing praises to his soul when it looks upon them. In front of these are the goddesses AMENTET and HERIT, and the god SEBEKHTI, who presides over the entrance into the vestibule of the world of light.
On the right of the path of the Boat of AFU-RA are gods and goddesses of the South and North who stablish crowns on the head of Ra when he appears in the sky; gods who give names to Ra and all his forms; gods and goddesses who lament when Ra has gone out from Ament, and who drive away Set; and gods with bowed heads who sing praises to Ra and keep guard
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over the Hidden Door. The souls of these gods follow after Ra, and accompany him on his way, but their bodies stay always where we see them. Their guardian is (vol. ii., pp. 296-299) the god called MATI, who has the head of a cat or lion.
On the left of the path of the Boat of AFU-RA is a company of his ministers who perform various important duties for him. Four of them carry disks, and give the command to the Gate of AKERT So that the god may be allowed to pass through and set himself in the sky. The mention of AKERT in the text which refers to these is interesting, for it shows that the ELEVENTH DIVISION of the BOOK OF GATES represents a portion of the Kingdom of the Sun-god of Heliopolis. Four other gods carry stars, and when AFU-RA passes out of this DIVISION, and is received into the arms of Nu, the Sky-god, they shout hymns of praise. 1 Before these are twelve gods with sceptres, four having human heads, four the heads of rams, and four the heads of hawks. The first four are the lords of the region, and stablish the domains of Ra in the sky; the second four provide offerings of bread and water for the god; and the third four set the shrine of Ra in the Matet-Sektet Boat, and place in it the paddles whereby it is to be paddled across the sky. The eight star-goddesses who sit upon uraei belong to the abode of the great god, four coming from the East and four from the West;

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they invoke the Spirits of the East, and join with them in singing hymns to the god, and in praising him after he has appeared in the sky. At the head of the whole . company stands a god with the head of a crocodile (vol. ii., pp. 290-293). The Kingdom of TEMU-KHEPERA-RA. differs from other Tuats from the fact that, according to the BOOK OF GATES, it contains no place specially set apart for the punishment of the enemies of Osiris and Ra, and of the damned. The pictures which illustrate it supply us with representations of the enemies of the Sun-god and of the beings who vanquish them, and secure his triumphant progress. Having arrived at the end of the ELEVENTH DIVISION the Boat comes to the end of the Fourth Tuat; 1 AFU-RA has effected his transformation as KHEPERA, and is now ready to appear in the sky of this world as RA. How he effects this we shall see from the next DIVISION.


The name of this DIVISION, or HOUR, Or CITY, is RE-EN-QERERT-APT-KHATU, i.e., "Mouth of the Circle which judgeth bodies," the name of its Gate is SEKHEN-TUATIU, i.e., "Embracer of the gods of the Tuat," and
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the Hour-goddess is SEBIT-NEBT-UAA-KHESEFET-SEB-EM-PERT-F, i.e., "Star, lady of the Boat which repulseth Seba at his appearance." This DIVISION of the TUAT was very near the Mountain of the Sunrise, from which the newly-born Sun-god would appear soon after day-break, and the knowledge of the gods in it, and of their forms and names, was believed to ensure to its possessor the power to emerge from the Tuat as a spirit equipped for travelling with the Sun-god over the sky. The Boat of AFU-RA makes its way through this region, and on looking at it (vol. i., p. 233) we see on its prow a disk of light encircled by a serpent; the disk is that of the Star PESTU, and it "guideth this great god into the ways of the darkness which gradually lighteneth, and illumineth those who are on the earth." The Boat is now towed by twelve gods, who employ as a rope the immensely long serpent MEHEN, the tail of which is supposed to be fastened to the front of the Boat (vol. i., p. 235); so soon as they have towed the god to the end of this DIVISION, and he has set himself in the horizon, they return to their own places. Immediately in front of these gods are two Crowns, the White and the Red (vol. i., p. 237), which rest each on the back of a uraeus; so soon as AFU-RA comes three human heads look forth, one from each side of the White Crown, and one from the Red Crown, and they disappear when he has passed by. The leaders of this remarkable procession are four forms of the goddess NEITH Of Saïs, who spring into life so soon as
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the sound of the voice of AFU-RA is heard; these are Neith the Child, Neith of the White Crown, Neith of the Red Crown, and Neith of the phallus. These goddesses "guard the holy gate of the city of Saïs, which is unknown, and can neither be seen nor looked at."
On the right of the path of AFU-RA we see the two-headed god APER-HRA-NEB-TCHETTA, with the Crown of the South on one head, and the Crown of the North on the other. Next come the god TEMU, his body, and his soul, the former in the shape of a serpent with two pairs of human legs and a pair of wings, and the latter in that of a man, with a disk on his head, and his hands stretched out to the wings (vol. i., p. 242). In front of these are the body and soul of the Star-god SHETU, who follows AFU-RA and casts the living ones to him every day. All the other deities here represented assist the god in his passage, and help him to arrive on the Horizon of the East.
The region to the left of the Boat is one of fire, and representations of it which we have in the BOOK AM-TUAT and the BOOK OF GATES may well have suggested the beliefs in a fiery hell that have come down through the centuries to our own time. Quite near the Boat stands Horus, holding in the left hand the snake-headed boomerang, with which he performs deeds of magic; in front of him is the serpent SET-HEH, i.e., the Everlasting Set, his familiar and messenger (vol. i., p. 249). Horus is watching and directing
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the destruction of the bodies, souls, shadows, and heads of the enemies of RA, and of the damned who are in this DIVISION, which is taking place in five pits of fire. A lioness-headed goddess stands by the side of the first pit which contains the enemies of RA; the fire with which they are consumed is supplied by the goddess, who vomits it into one corner of the pit.
The next four pits contain the bodies, souls, shades, and heads respectively, of the damned, the fire being supplied by the goddesses in charge. In the pit following are four beings who are immersed, head downwards, in the depths of its fires (vol. i., pp. 249-253). The texts which refer to the pits of fire show that the beings who were unfortunate enough to be cast into them were hacked in pieces by the goddesses who were over them, and then burned in the fierce fire provided by SET-HEH and the goddesses until they were consumed. The pits of fire were, of course, suggested by the red, fiery clouds which, with lurid splendour, often herald the sunrise in Egypt. As the sun rose, dispersing as he did so the darkness of night, and the mist and haze which appeared to cling to him, it was natural f or the primitive peoples of Egypt to declare that his foes were being burned in his pits or lakes of fire. The redder and brighter the fiery glare, the more effective would the burning up of the foes be thought to be, and it is not difficult to conceive the horror which would rise in the minds of superstitious folk when they
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saw the day open with a dull or cloudy sky, with no evidence in it that the Sun had defeated the powers of darkness, and had suffered no injury during the night.
The presence of the pits of fire in this DIVISION suggests that we have now practically arrived at the end of the Tuat, and, according to the views of those who compiled the original description of AKERT, this is indeed the case. We have, in the Boat of AFU-RA, now passed through the Tuat of Khenti-Amenti, the Tuat of Seker, the Tuat of Osiris, lord of Mendes and Busiris, and the Tuat of TEMU-KHEPERA-RA, lord of ANNU, i.e., the four great Tuats which comprised all the great abodes of the dead of all Egypt. Now to enter this group of Tuats it was necessary to pass through a forecourt or antechamber, which for purposes of convenience has been called a DIVISION of the Tuat, and before AFU-RA can emerge from the last of the group of Tuats into the light of a new day, he must pass through a region which corresponds to the forecourt of the Tuats, and serves actually as a forecourt of the world of light. In the forecourt of the Tuats the darkness became deeper and deeper the further it was penetrated, but in the forecourt of the world of light the darkness becomes less and less dense as the day is approached. Considered from this point of view, the Four Tuats only contain Ten Divisions, or Hours, which corresponded roughly with the Ten GATES of the Kingdom of Osiris, as set forth in many copies of the
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[paragraph continues] Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead. Strictly speaking, the addition of a forecourt to the world of light was unnecessary, but as the Theban priests had added one at the beginning of the Four Tuats, symmetry demanded that there should be another supplementary region at their end.
If now we treat the Ten Divisions of the Four Tuats as Hours, and assume that the Book of AFU-RA began its journey through them on an average between six and seven o'clock in the evening, it follows that the god reached the abode of Osiris about midnight, together with those souls who travelled with him. The souls who chose to be judged by Osiris, preferring a heaven full of material delights to spiritual happiness, disembarked, and passed into the Judgment Hall, where they received their sentence, and were made joyful or miserable. For the blessed homesteads were provided, and for the wicked slicings and gashings with knives, and pits of fire, wherein their bodies and souls and shadows were destroyed for ever. The evidence indicates that Osiris passed judgment on souls each day at midnight, and that the righteous were rewarded with good things shortly afterwards; the wicked also were punished with tortures and burnings, probably soon afterwards, or at all events before the Sun rose on the following day. Thus Osiris in the Tuat, and Ra in the world of light, would rejoice in freedom from foes until the time arrived for a new "weighing of words" to take place, and, according to one view, the enemies of Osiris, and
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the foes of Ra, were consumed in fire together, and it was the smoke and fire of their burning which were seen in the heavens at sunrise. We may now consider the vestibule at the end of the Four Tuats, and describe the beings who were in it.


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