Pert Em Heru / Kemetian Texts : The Book of Gates

Discussion in 'Pert Em Heru / Kemetian Texts Study Group' started by Omowale Jabali, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The Book of Gates is an Ancient Egyptian funerary text dating from the New Kingdom.[1] It narrates the passage of a newly deceased soul into the next world, corresponding to the journey of the sun though the underworld during the hours of the night. The soul is required to pass though a series of 'gates' at different stages in the journey. Each gate is associated with a different goddess, and requires that the deceased recognise the particular character of that deity. The text implies that some people will pass through unharmed, but that others will suffer torment in a lake of fire.

    The most famous part of the Book of Gates today refers to the different races of humanity known to the Egyptians, dividing them up into four categories that are now conventionally labelled "Egyptians", "Asiatics", "Libyans", and "Nubians". These are depicted in procession entering the next world.

    The text and images associated with the Book of Gates appear in many tombs of the New Kingdom, including all the pharaonic tombs between Horemheb and Ramesses VII. They also appear in the tomb of Sennedjem, a worker in the village of Deir el-Medina, the ancient village of artists and craftsmen who built pharaonic tombs in the New Kingdom.

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  2. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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  4. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    TWELFTH DIVISION OF THE TUAT.

    II. EASTERN VESTIBULE OF THE TUAT, OR THE ANTECHAMBER OF THE WORLD OF LIGHT ACCORDING TO THE BOOK AM-TUAT.

    THE TWELFTH DIVISION, or HOUR, Or CITY, is called KHEPER-KEKIU-KHAU-MESTU, the name of its Gate is THEN-NETERU, and the Hour-goddess is MAA-NEFERT-RA; it is the "uttermost limit of thick darkness," i.e., it is not a part of the Tuat proper, and it contains the great celestial watery abyss Nu, and the goddess NUT. who is here the personification of the "womb of the morning." So soon as the Sun-god passes from the thighs of Nut he will enter the Matet Boat, and begin his course in the world of light. We see AFU-RA in his Boat as before, and in the front of it is the Beetle of Khepera, under whose form the god is to be re-born. The space in front of the Boat is filled by the body of a huge serpent called ANKH-NETERU, which lives upon the rumblings of the earth, and from the mouth of which amakhiu, or loyal servants, go forth daily. Twelve amakhiu of RA now take hold of the tow-line, and entering in at
    p. 193
    the tail of the serpent ANKH-NETERU draw AFU-RA and his Boat through its body, and bring him out at its mouth (vol. i., p. 263). During his passage through the serpent, the god transforms himself into Khepera and the twelve amakhiu who have been with him throughout his journey in the Tuat are, after they have passed out of the serpent's body, re-born on the earth each day. They enter the tail of the serpent as loyal servants, but, like their master, are transformed during their passage through its body, and they emerge from its mouth as "rejuvenated forms of RA" each day. They live on the earth during the day, but at sunset they rejoin their lord, and re-enter the Tuat; whilst they are upon earth to utter the name of the god is forbidden to them.
    The transformation of the dead Sun-god into the living Khepera having been effected, twelve goddesses step forward when he emerges from the serpent, and tow the great god into the sky, and lead him along the ways of the upper sky. "They bring with them the soft winds and breezes which accompany the dawn, and guide the god to SHU," who is the personification of the atmosphere and of whatever is in the vault of heaven. Of this god are seen (vol. i., p. 277) only the head and arms, and when the Beetle of Khepera comes to him, he receives him, and places the newly-born Sun-god in the opening in the centre of the semi-circular wall which ends this
    p. 194
    vestibule of the world of light, where he is seen by the people on earth in the form of a disk. This disk either represents a transformation of the Sun-god effected by Shu, or the celestial ball containing the germs of life, of which the type on earth is the ball of eggs which the sacred beetle is seen rolling along the ground. The mummified form in which the dead Sun-god travelled through the Tuat is now useless, and we see it cast aside and lying against the wall which divides the Tuat from this world; that there shall be no doubt about this it is described by the words "Image (or, form) Of AF."
    Turning now to the beings who are on the right and left of the path of the god, we see in the upper register twelve goddesses, each of whom bears on her shoulders a serpent which produces light by belching fire from its mouth (vol. i., pp. 265, 266); these drive away APEP, and frighten the beings of darkness by their fires. Next to these are twelve gods who sing praises at dawn to the god, whom they assert to be "self-begotten" and the author of his own being, and they rejoice because at his new birth his soul will be in heaven, and his body on earth. These gods are indeed spirits of the East, and they are declared to have jurisdiction over the gods of the "land of the turquoise," i.e., Sinai. In the lower register we have a company of twenty-three gods (vol. i., pp. 271-274) who stand in the sky ready to receive Ra when he appears, and to praise him; some of them drive APEP to "the
    p. 195
    back of the sky," some support the Great Disk in the sky, and the duty of one of them, who is called SENMEKHEF and appears in the form of a serpent, is to burn up the enemies of Ra at dawn. Thus the Sun-god passed out of the Tuat even as he entered it, with praises, and as he did so he bade farewell to Osiris, the Lord of the Tuat, under one of whose forms he had completed successfully his journey, in these words:--"Life to thee, O thou who art over the darkness! Life [to thee]! in all thy majesty. Life to thee! O KHENTI-A-AMENTET-OSIRIS, who art over the beings of Amentet. Life to thee! Life to thee O thou who art over the Tuat. The winds of Ra are in thy nostrils, and the nourishment of Khepera is with thee. Thou livest, and ye live. Hail to Osiris, the lord of the living, that is to say, of the gods who are with Osiris, and who came into being with him the first time."
     
  5. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    TWELFTH DIVISION OF THE TUAT.

    II. EASTERN VESTIBULE OF THE TUAT ACCORDING TO THE BOOK OF GATES.

    The last section of the BOOK OF GATES contains representations of the Gate TESERT-BAIU, with its two doors (vol. ii., pp. 302, 303), which lead into that portion of the sky wherein the sun rises, and of the stablishing of the Sun-god in his Boat in the sky. This Gate has no company of gods in mummied forms to guard it, and in
    p. 196
    front of it are two standards, or sceptres, each of which is surrounded by a human head; above that on the left is the Beetle of KHEPERA, and over the other is the Disk of TEMU. In other words, the Gate is guarded by symbols of the rising and the setting sun. The corridor between the walls is swept by flames as before, and a warder in mummied form guards each end of it; the one, PAI or BAI, represents the dawn, and the other, AKHEKHI, the evening. Within the Gate are two doors, one guarded by the monster serpent SEBI, and the other by the monster serpent RERI. At the threshold is the uraeus of NEPHTHYS, and by the lintel is the uraeus of Isis, for these goddesses guard this "Secret Gate."
    The god AFU-RA. having, as we have seen, transformed himself into KHEPERA, and, by the help of the god whose operations have been described, provided himself with a new face, or disk, and new light and fire, passes through the Gate TESERT-BAIU, which marks the end of the TUAT, into the Vestibule of the world of light. We no longer see him in the form of a ram-headed man, standing under the folds of the serpent MEHEN, but he appears as KHEPERA, i.e., as his Beetle, with the disk in front of him. From the scene which ends the BOOK OF GATES we learn that so soon as the god passes through the Gate of TESERT-BAIU he enters the waters of Nu, the god of the primeval watery abyss of the sky. The ministers of KHEPERA now appear with the MATET-SEKTET BOAT
    p. 197
    which they have in readiness, and the god takes his place in it, with the gods who are to guide and propel it. Nu then lifts the Boat up above his head, and the goddess NUT receives the Disk of the sun in her hands. It will be noted that she stands on the head of a god whose body is bent in such a way that it forms a circle: the explanatory text shows that the god is Osiris, and that his body is the Tuat. Thus we see that the "womb of Nut," from which the Sun-god is said to be born, lies quite close to the eastern end of the Tuat, and that it forms by itself the Vestibule which leads into the world of light.
    Close to the high prow of the Boat we see (vol. ii., p. 303) the sun's disk passing through a gap in the mountain which divides the Eastern Vestibule of the Tuat from the sky of this world; this disk is the same which we have seen NUT receive from the Beetle of KHEPERA and whilst it is traversing the gap dawn is taking place on the earth. When the disk is on the horizon all men know that the monsters of the Tuat have failed to destroy AFU-RA or to obstruct his passage, that the god has, with the aid of KHEPERA, made all his transformations, that he has appeared in the sky again, full of light, and fire, and life, and that for another day at least all will be well with the world. Meanwhile the souls of the blessed who have travelled through the Tuat in the Boat with AFU-RA have escaped with him from all its dangers, and have made their transformations
    p. 198
    as he has done, and now they rise with him above this earth, and are able to look once again upon their own homes and haunts, and friends. Their companions are the gods who minister to Ra, and as they live upon the food of Ra, and are arrayed in his apparel, they become in all respects like him.
    For the beings who were left in the Tuat, i.e., for those who were not provided for by Osiris in SEKHET-AARU and SEKHET-HETEPET, existence must have been a sad one, for they were obliged to sit in darkness and misery, except for the brief space each night when AFU-RA passed through their DIVISIONS, when the gods who were in his train lightened the darkness with the fire which proceeded from their bodies, and the god himself, taking pity on those to whom the making of offerings on earth had ceased, spoke the words which procured sustenance for them. Such acts of grace, however, cannot have been sufficient to secure the happiness of those upon whom they were bestowed, for, with every mention in the texts of the closing of the door of a DIVISION after the god has passed through it, we read that the souls who were outside the door uttered cries of lamentation and wailed bitterly.
    It must be remembered that views such as are here described were held only by the priests Of AMEN-RA, who, as we have seen, tried to show that their god was lord of all the Tuats of Egypt, and that all the gods of the dead, including even Osiris, and all the blessed, depended upon him for light and food, which they received from
    p. 199
    him in return for the services which they rendered to him as their overlord. Those who held not these views, and were not followers of Osiris, believed, as did all the primitive Egyptians, that the Tuat was a place of darkness, hunger, thirst, and misery, and finally of annihilation. They had no belief either in purgatory or in everlasting punishment; the beings in the Tuat lived just so long as their friends and relatives on earth made the prescribed funeral offerings on their behalf, and no longer. The shadows, souls, and bodies of those who were without food in the Tuat were, together with the fiends and monsters which opposed the progress of the Sun-god, destroyed by fire each day, utterly and finally; but each day brought its own supply of the enemies of Ra, and of the dead, and the beings which were consumed in the pits of fire one day were not the same, though they belonged to the same classes, as those which had been burnt up the day before.
     
  6. Each1teach1

    Each1teach1 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I was reading about this portrait last night in "African Origins of Civilization" great book Im so excited...
     
  7. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Outstanding!

    I need to buy another copy just for the numerous references.
     
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