The Gods of the Egyptians Vol 1

Studies in Egyptian Mythology

by E. A. Wallis Budge | 1904 | 170,388 words

Volume 1-16 chapters including The Gods of Egypt, Primitive Gods and Nome-Gods, Hell and the Damned, Ra the Sun-God and His Forms, Hathor and the Hathor-Goddesses, The Horus Gods, and more. Includes 49 plates, 38 illustrations....

Chapter V - The Underworld

In the chapters on God and the gods it has already been said that the Egyptians in the earliest times believed that the gods were moved by the same passions as men and grew old and died like men ; later, however, they believed that it was only the bodies of the gods which died, and they therefore provided in their religious system a place for the souls of dead gods, just as they provided a place for the souls of dead men and women.

The writers of the religious texts were not all agreed as to the exact position of this place, but from first to last, whatever might be the conceptions entertained about it, it was called Ṭuat, .

This word is commonly rendered “underworld,” but it must be distinctly understood that the Egyptian word does not imply that it was situated under our world, and that this rendering is only adopted because the exact signification of the name Ṭuat is unknown. The word is a very old one, and expresses a conception which was originated by the primitive Egyptians, and was probably unknown to their later descendants, who used the word without troubling to define its exact meaning.

To render Ṭuat by “hell” is also incorrect, because “hell” conveys to modern peoples ideas which were foreign to the Egyptians of most schools of religious thought. Whatever may be the moral ideas of the Ṭuat as a place of punishment for the wicked in later times, it is clear that at the outset it was regarded as the place through which the dead Sun-god Rā passed after his setting or death each evening on his journey to that portion of the sky in which he rose anew each morning.

In the XlXth Dynasty we know that the Ṭuat was believed to be situated not below our earth, but away beyond the earth, probably in the sky, and certainly near the heaven wherein the gods dwelt; it was the realm of Osiris who, according to many texts, judged the dead there, and reigned over the gods of the dead as well as over the dead themselves.


The Ṭuat

The Ṭuat was separated from this world by a chain or range of mountains, and consisted of a great valley, which was shut in closely on each side by mountains; the mountains on one side divided the valley from this earth, and those on the other divided it from heaven.

We may note in passing that the Hebrews separated the blessed from the damned by a wall,[1] and that Lazarus was separated from Dives in hell by a “great gulf,”[2] and that the Muhammadans divide heaven from hell by the mountain Al-A‘râf, ,[3] which, however, cannot be of any great breadth because those who stand upon it are supposed to be able to hold converse both with the blessed and the damned.

It is pretty certain that both Hebrews and Muhammadans borrowed their ideas of the partition between heaven and hell from the Egyptian Ṭuat, but there is no authority in the texts for the Muhammadan view that it is a sort of limbo or purgatory for those who are too good for earth but not good enough for heaven. Those who stand on Al-A‘râf are said to be angels in the form of men, patriarchs, prophets, and saints, and those whose good deeds on earth were exactly counterbalanced by their evil deeds, and who therefore merit neither heaven nor hell.

Through the valley of the Ṭuat runs a river, which is the counterpart of the Nile in Egypt and of the celestial Nile in heaven, and on each bank of this river lived a vast number of monstrous beasts, and devils, and fiends of every imaginable kind and size, and among them were large numbers of evil spirits which were hostile to any being that invaded the valley.

On the sarcophagus of Seti I. is a representation of the Creation, which is reproduced on p. 204, and from it we see that the Ṭuat is likened to the body of Osiris, which is bent round like a hoop in such a way that his toes touch the back of his head.

On the top of his head stands the goddess Nut, who supports with both hands the disk of the sun. From this we may conclude both that Osiris is the personification of the Ṭuat, and that the Ṭuat is a narrow circular valley which begins where the sun sets in the west, and ends where he rises in the east.

The Ṭuat was a terrible place by reason of the monsters and devils with which it was filled, and its horrors were increased by the entire absence of light from it, and the beings therein groped about in the darkness of deep night. That the Ṭuat should be a place of blackness and gloom is quite natural when once we have realized that it was the path of the dead sun between the sunset of one day and the sunrise of the following day.

The ideas about this region, which we find reproduced in papyri of the New Empire, belong to different periods, and we can see that the Theban writers who described it and drew pictures of the beings which lived in it, collected a mass of legends and myths from every great religious centre of Egypt, wishing to make them all form part of their doctrine concerning the great god of Thebes, Ȧmen-Rā.

As the priests of Heliopolis succeeded in promulgating their theological system throughout the length and breadth of Egypt by identifying the older gods with their gods, and by proving that their views included those of all the priesthoods of the great cities of Egypt, so the priests of Thebes endeavoured to convince the priests of other great cities of the superiority and greatness of their God Ȧmen-Rā, and probably succeeded in so doing.


The Ṭuat and Ȧmentet

The Theban writers and scribes knew perfectly well that originally every nome or great city possessed its own underworld just as it possessed its own company of gods, and that each underworld was designated by a special name; they, therefore, made the Ṭuat to include all these underworlds and all the various gods with whom they were peopled, and they gave it the most important of the names of the local underworlds.

The best known of these was Ȧmentet, , i.e., the “hidden place,” which appears to have been originally the place where Ȧn-ḥer, the local god of Abydos, ruled as god of the dead, under the title of “Khenti Ȧmentet,” that is to say, “he who is the chief of the unseen land.” When the importance of Ȧn-ḥer was eclipsed by the new-comer Osiris, the title of the former was assigned to Osiris, who, henceforth, was always called “Khenti Ȧmentet.” But this usurpation of Ȧn-ḥer’s title as god of the dead by Osiris must have taken place in very early times, for ȧmentet was a common name for the underworld throughout Egypt, and is found in texts of all periods, even in those of the Vth and VIth Dynasties.


The Ṭuat and its Inhabitants

Yet long before even this remote period the priesthoods of certain nomes or cities must have developed the idea that the life of a man resembled the course of the sun during the day, and that setting was to the sun what death was to a man ; the sun, however, reappeared each morning in apparently a new body, and as man wished to live again in a renewed, or new, body, the Egyptian theologians set to work to form a system of theology in which the souls of the blessed dead, i.e., those who had been buried with all the ceremonies prescribed by the religion of the period, were made to accompany the sun in his boat as he passed through the portion of the Ṭuat which had been assigned to them.

As the sun passed through the Ṭuat large numbers of souls made their way into his boat, and although it was only the dead sun that was their guide and protector, and his passage was through the realms of the dead which were under the sovereignty of Osiris, the god of the dead, they were brought forth at length to renewed life and light as soon as the boat passed out from the eastern end of the Ṭuat into the day. This view was a very popular and widespread one, especially as it made Rā and Osiris Work together, each after his own method, to secure eternal life and happiness for the souls of the dead.

As soon as the priests had made up their minds that the Ṭuat existed, they began to people it with imaginary beings which were supposed to be hostile to the souls of the dead, and to invent descriptions of the various regions into which they declared it was divided; such descriptions were at length committed to writing, at first in a very simple form, and after the manner of every group of texts which were composed for the benefit of the dead, but finally they became more elaborate, and attempts were made to represent pictorially the creatures which were found in the Ṭuat.

In fact, it was intended to compile a book which should contain such accurate descriptions of the Ṭuat, and such true pictures of the foes which the dead soul would have to meet there, together with lists of their names, that when a soul was once provided with a copy of it he would find it impossible to lose his way, or to be overcome by any monster which attempted to bar his way or to prevent his access to the boat of Rā.


The Shāt Ȧm Ṭuat

The great work which the Egyptians called “Coming Forth by Day,” , supplied the soul with a great many words of power, and prayers, and incantations, as well as hymns, but even in the Early Empire, about B.c. 3500, many of its doctrines were antiquated, and the priests found it necessary to add new chapters and to modify old ones in order to make it a funeral work suitable for the requirements of newer generations of men.

Owing to the extreme antiquity of the “Book of Coming Forth by Day,” the views expressed in many of its chapters were contrary to those held by Theban priests of the New Empire, about B.c. 1050, and as a result, whilst preserving, and holding in great reverence this work which they had borrowed from the ancient priesthood of Heliopolis, they compiled two works, which may be called

  1. “The Book of that which is in the Ṭuat,”
  2. and the “Book of the Pylons.”

In the first of these, the “Shāt ȧm Ṭuat,” , were gathered together all the views held by the Heliopolitan priesthood on the life of man’s soul after death, and though it contained all the doctrines as to the supremacy of Rā, their great Sun-god, these were so skilfully manipulated by the Theban priests, that the compilation actually became a work which magnified the grade and influence of Ȧmen-Rā, the great god of Thebes, and raised him to the position which the Thebans claimed for him, namely, “king of the gods, and lord of the thrones of the two lands.” The thrones here referred to are not those of kings, but the shrines of all the gods on all the land on each side of the river Nile.

In the Heliopolitan system of theology the god Osiris held a comparatively subordinate position in the paut, or company of the gods, and was in fact only the greatest of the gods of the dead who were worshipped in the Delta; in the “Book of that which is in the Underworld” he also holds a position subordinate to Rā, and his underworld is made to be a portion of the Ṭuat through which the dead sun passed nightly.


The Book of the Pylons

In the Shāt en Sbau,, or “Book of the Pylons,” the greatest god of all is the god Osiris, and the whole work is devoted to a description of the various sections of the region over which he presides, and is intended to form a guide to it whereby the souls of the dead may be enabled to make their way through it successfully and in comfort.

The Shāt ȧm Ṭuat and the Shāt en sbau were, in fact, the outcome of two distinct schools of theology; the latter, in its most primitive form, was the older of the two, and described the life of man after death more as a continuation of his existence on this earth than as an entirely new life, while the former made the future life to be passed entirely with the Sun-god.

The latter maintained the views about the Elysian Fields and their material delights, which found utterance in the “Book of Coming Forth by Day,” and was to all intents and purposes an amplification of, and a companion volume to it, but it also contained doctrines which were inserted in it with the view of making it harmonize with the theories in the former which related to the absolute supremacy of Rā.

The Theban priests had no wish, when once they had established the mastery of Ȧmen-Rā, but to bring all the doctrines of the various schools of religious thought into harmony with their own, for such a course could do nothing but contribute to the material prosperity of the great brotherhood of Amen-Rā. They were tolerably sure of the offerings of the faithful of Thebes, but they were anxious to obtain a share of those of the devotees of Osiris who flocked to Abydos, which was, rightly or wrongly, celebrated as the burial-place of the god.

The history of Egypt shows that the fight between the kings of the South and the kings of the North for the supremacy of the whole country was always going on, but as the fortunes of war had given victory to the kings of the South, who were the lords of all Egypt under the New Empire, the priests of the god of these kings determined that Ȧmen-Rā should be the king of the gods. Religious ambition was helped by the success of the great warrior kings of the XVIIIth Dynasty, and thus Ȧmen-Rā became the overlord of Osiris.


Divisions of the Underworld

Both the “Book of that which is in the Underworld” and the “Book of the Pylons” divide the Ṭuat into twelve parts, each of which corresponds to one of the hours of the night, and the divisions are called

  • “Field,” , sekhet,
  • or “City,” , nut,
  • or “Hall,” , ārret,
  • or “Circle,” , qerert.

In Chapter cxliv. of the Book of the Dead, according to the Papyrus of Nu (Brit. Mus.,No. 10,477), the Ārrets are seven in number, and each is guarded by a doorkeeper, a watcher, and a herald with the following names:—

Ārret I.

  1. Sekheṭ-ḥrȧ-āsht-ȧru, .
  2. Semetu, .
  3. Hu-kheru,

Ārret II.

  1. Ṭun-peḥti, .
  2. Seqeṭ-ḥrȧ, .
  3. Sabes, .

Ārret III.

  1. Am-ḥuat-ent-peḥ-fi, .
  2. Res-ḥrȧ, .
  3. Uāau, .

Arret IV.

  1. Khesef-ḥrȧ-āsh-kheru, .
  2. Res-ȧb, .
  3. Neteqa-ḥrȧ-khesef-aṭu, 

Ārret V.

  1. Ānkh-em-fentu, .
  2. Ashebu, .
  3. Ṭeb-ḥer-kehaat,

Ārret VI.

  1. Ȧken-tau-k-ha-kheru, .
  2. Ȧn-ḥer, .
  3. Meṭes-ḥrȧ-ȧri-she,

Arret VII.

  1. Meṭes-sen, .
  2. Āa-kheru, .
  3. Khesef-ḥrȧ-khemiu,

In Chapter cxlv. of the Book of the Lead according to the Theban and Saïte Recensions the domain of Osiris, i.e., Sekhet-Ȧarru, , or Sekhet-Ȧanre, , contains Twenty-one pylons, each of which has a name, generally a very long one, and each of which is guarded by a god.

The names of the gods who guard the first ten of these pylons are:—

  1. Neri, .
  2. Mes-Peḥ, .
  3. Erṭāt-Sebanqa, .
  4. Neḳau, .
  5. Ḥenti-requ, .
  6. Semamti, .
  7. Ȧkenti, .
  8. Khu-tchet-f, .
  9. Tchesef, .
  10. Sekhen-ur, .

These names are taken from the Papyrus of Nu already quoted (sheet 25), but the following come from the Turin Papyrus, Avhich was edited by Lepsius so far back as 1842, and they illustrate the changes which have taken place in the names.

  1. Nerȧu, .
  2. Mes-Ptaḥ, .
  3. Beq, .
  4. Ḥu-tepa, .
  5. Erṭā-ḥen-er-reqau, .
  6. Samti, .
  7. Ȧm-Nit, .
  8. Netchses, .
  9. Khau-tchet-f, .
  10. Sekhen-ur, .

The names of all the pylons are given in both the Theban and Saïte Recensions,[4] but the names of the gods who guard pylons XI.—XXI. are given in neither.


Divisions of Sekhet-ȧarru

The domain of Osiris, or Sekhet-Ȧarru, was, according to Chapters cxlix. and cl., divided into fifteen Ȧats, which are thus enumerated :—

  1. Ȧat () I. Sekhet Ȧarru; its god was Rā-Heru-khuti.
  2. Ȧat II. Ȧpt-ent-khet, ; its god was Fa-ākli, .
  3. Ȧat III. Ṭu-qa-āat,  .
  4. Ȧat IV. “The Ȧat of the spirits,” .
  5. Ȧat V. Ȧmmeḥet, ; the god in it is called Sekher-remu, .
  6. Ȧat VI. Ȧsset, .
  7. Ȧat VII. Ha-sert, ; the god in it is Fa-pet, .
  8. Ȧat VIII. Ȧpt-ent-qaḥu, .
  9. Ȧat IX. Ȧṭu, ; the god in it is Sepṭ, .
  10. Ȧat X. Unt, ; the god in it is Ḥetemet-baiu, .
  11. Ȧat XI. Ȧpt-net, ; the god in it is Āa-sekhemu, .
  12. Ȧat XII. Kher-āḥa, ; the god in it is Ḥāp, i.e., the Nile.
  13. Ȧat XIII. Ȧtru-she-en-nesert-f-em-shet, .
  14. Ȧat XIV. Ȧkesi, ; the god in it is Maa-thet-f, .
  15. Ȧat XV. Ȧmentet-nefert, “Beautiful Amentet, ,” wherein the gods live upon cakes and ale.

In connexion with these various divisions of the realm of Osiris here will follow naturally a brief description of the Book of Pylons. An excellent copy of its text, with illustrations, is to be found on the famous alabaster sarcophagus[5] of Seti I., now preserved in Sir John Soane’s Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, and variants of several of the passages are given on the walls of the tombs of several kings of the XXth Dynasty, who were buried in the Valley of the Tombs of the Kings at Thebes.

Curiously enough, the work, as M. Jéquier has remarked,[6] seems never to have become popular, and copies of it are only found in royal tombs ; it is generally admitted that it represents an attempt on the part of the Theban priests to adjust the cult of Rā to that of Osiris, and if this be so there is little to wonder at if it failed.


Divisions of the Ṭuat

According to the Book of Pylons the Ṭuat is a long, narrow valley, with sandy slopes, and is divided into two equal strips by the river on which the boat of the sun sails ; it is made to contain twelve nomes or divisions, which correspond to the twelve hours of the night.


First Division of the Ṭuat

image right: The First Hour of the Night.

In the First Division, i.e., the First Hour, we have the Mountain of the West,, divided into two portions, and along its lowest part is a path which forms the entrance from this world to the Ṭuat. On the right-hand side is a jackal-headed standard, , and on the left a ram-headed standard,; each of these is adored by the god of the mountain, Set,, and the god of the Ṭuat,.

On the right are the twelve gods of the mountain, and on the left the twelve gods of Set-Ȧmentet, . In the centre is the boat of the sun, and we see in it a disk containing a beetle ; the disk is encircled by a huge serpent in folds, which holds its tail in its mouth. In the bows of the boat stands the god Sa,, and in the stern, Ḥeka, , the god of magical words.


Second Division of the Ṭuat

image right: The Second Hour of the Night.

The boat, having moved on, approaches a pylon with closed doors, guarded by a huge serpent which stands on his tail and bears the name Saa-Set,. This pylon forms the entrance to the Second Division, or Second Hour, and when the god has passed through it “those who dwell in their Set,, cry out.”[7]

On the right are twenty-four human forms, which represent those who praised Rā upon earth,, and who directed their words of power against the archfiend Apep,. In the centre is the boat of the sun, in which the god stands in a shrine ; he is ram-headed, and holds in his hand a sceptre.

The shrine is protected by the serpent Mehen,, and a serpent stands upright on its tail before him ; the boat is being towed along by four beings of the Ṭuat, , and is met by the seven gods called

  1. Nepmeḥ, ,
  2. Nenḥā, ,
  3. Ba (?),
  4. Horus,
  5. Uā-ȧb, ,
  6. Khnemu,
  7. and Setchet, ,

and by six gods of the āqet,, and a god with a staff.

On the left hand of the divine boat are :—

  1. The god Tem, leaning on a staff,,
  2. four dead men lying on their backs, and twenty men standing with their arms tied together behind their backs.

These last are, according to M. Lefebure’s rendering[8] of the text,

“the criminals in Rā’s great hall (the world), those who have insulted Rā on the earth, those who have cursed that which is in the Egg, those who have frustrated justice, those who have uttered blasphemies against Khuti.”

The pylon which the god now approaches is quite different from the first, but it resembles all the others which have to be passed through. The opening is protected like a fortress by some advanced work, and through the wall is an entrance to a corridor which runs between two walls crowned with a series of spear heads.

This corridor bends at right angles, and in each angle is a uraeus, from the mouth of which drop balls of fire that fill the whole length of it; at each end of the corridor is a god in the form of a mummy,

  • one is called Ȧm-āua-qāḥ-f, ,
  • and the other, Sekhabsenfunen, .

The pylon itself is called Sepṭet-uauau, , and the name of the snake which guards it and stands upon its tail is Aqebi, . The entrance to the pylon is also protected by nine gods, in mummied form, who represent the “Second Company” of the gods, .


Third Division of the Ṭuat

image right: The Third Hour of the Night

The door of the pylon is opened towards the Third Division of the Ṭuat, or the Third Hour. The gate is called Sepṭet uauau setet-sen-Rā, . On the right hand of the boat of the god are twelve holy gods of the Ṭuat, each in his shrine, with the doors open, and twelve gods of the lakes of fire ; a huge snake lies along the tops of all the shrines, and before each god of the basins of fire is an ear of corn.

On the left hand are:—

  1. The god Tem ;
  2. the serpent Āpep ;
  3. the nine gods who are called the “chiefs who drive back Āpepi,” ; and
  4. Tem and the nine gods of things, .

The boat of the sun is towed through this division by eight gods of the Ṭuat, and the middle of the rope is fastened to a long pole or beam, each end of which terminates in the head of a bull. This pole is supported by eight gods in mummied form, and upon it are seated seven gods; in front and behind these stands a bull, and at the end of the division stand four shrouded mummy forms.

The gods who are on the left hand of the boat of the sun, and are under the direction of Tem, form two companies, whose special duty it was to carry out the commands of this god in respect of the slaughter of the arch-fiend Ȧpepi.

This monster was first of all to be enchanted by the incantations which were recited over him, and then his head was to be cut off, and his body to be hacked in pieces at the joints. As the god passes out of the Third Division and the door closes, all the beings who are fated to remain in it lift up their voices and weep.


Fourth Division of the Ṭuat

image right: The Fourth Hour of the Night:

The pylon of the Fourth Division or Fourth Hour is called Nebt-s-tchefau,, and the name of the serpent which guards it and stands upon its tail is tcheṭbi,; the gods in mummied forms who stand one at the beginning and one at the end of the corridor are called Nenuerbesta,, and Seṭa-ta,, respectively. The nine gods who guard the wall are the “the third company of the great god,” .

On the right side of the boat of the god are twelve gods, who are described as the “bringers of their doubles,” , and twelve jackal-headed figures, who are walking on the Lake of Life,[9] and ten uraei, who rise out of the Lake of uraei ;[10] to all these the Sun-god addresses words of comfort, and they respond suitably.

The uraei, who are called “those who live,” , are ordered to preserve their fames and fire for use against the enemies of Rā, and they answer the god, saying,

“Come to us, unite thyself to Tanen,”


On the left side of the boat of the god is Horus the Aged, who follows eleven human forms as they march behind the uraeus called Flame,, to a shrine in which the god Osiris, wearing the crown of the South, stands upon a serpent. Behind Osiris are the twelve gods, “who are behind the shrine,” and four gods, who preside over pits in the earth, and the “prince of destruction,” who holds a sceptre in his left hand andin his right.

In the middle is the boat of the sun being towed along the river of the Ṭuat by four gods as usual, and it is made to approach a long low sepulchral building in which are nine chapels, each containing a mummied god lying flat on his back; these are called

“the gods who are in the train of Osiris in their caves,”


At the end of this building are two groups, each containing six women, who are the personifications of the twelve hours in the Ṭuat; between them is the serpent Ḥerert,, with multitudinous coils and windings, and he is said to give birth to twelve young ones to devour the hours. In this division, as in the others, Rā addresses the beings who are in it, and makes arrangements for their supply of food, and reminds them of their duties to him their creator.


Fifth Division of the Ṭuat

image right: The Fifth Hour of the Night.

The pylon of the Fifth Division or Fifth Hour is called Ȧrit,, and the serpent who guards it bears the name of Teka-ḥrȧ,; the jackal-headed mummy at one end of the conidor is Āau,, and he at the other is Tekemi, . Along the front of the wall are nine gods in mummied forms who represent the fourth company of the gods.

On the right hand of the boat of the god are :—

  1. The twelve worshippers in the Ṭuat;
  2. Twelve bearers of cord,; and
  3. Four gods with sceptres.

These beings are said to be those who knew Rā upon earth, and who made offerings to him, and in return for this Rā awarded them meat and drink in the most holy place in Ȧmentet, and said to them,

“I am satisfied with what you did for me, whether I was shining in the Eastern heaven, or whether I was in the temple,, of my eye.”

Therefore they feed upon the food which Rā eats, and offerings are made to them upon earth on account of the praise which they ascribe to Rā in Ȧmenti. The beings who carry the cords are supposed to measure the “fields of the spirits,”, and their cords are supposed to represent the cord of law, i.e.,  the measuring cord by which law and justice are represented, and “Rā says to them, Their law is the cord in Ȧmentet,” . On the left side of the boat of the sun are:—

  1. Horus the Elder leaning upon a stick ;
  2. Sixteen men, four of whom are, i.e., Egyptians, four are Āamu,, four are Negroes,, and four are Libyans,;
  3. Twelve men, called “those who bear ladders (?) in Ȧment,, and who are holding a long serpent; and
  4. Eight divine sovereign chiefs in Ȧment.

To these four classes of men, whom Horus describes as being in the Ṭuat of Egypt and the Red Land,, it is said by the god, “Ye are the tears from my Eye,”, “in your name of ‘men,’”. He then tells the Āamu, , and the Negroes and the Libyans that he has created them, and that it is the goddess Sekhet,, who redeems · their souls,.

Finally, the god addresses those who hold the ladder (?), and bids them take measurements of the souls that are appointed for destruction, and destroy the souls that have to be destroyed ; in the hands of these beings was the power of determining the length of the period which had to be passed by souls in Ȧmentet, and it is undoubtedly passages like these which have given rise to the idea that the Egyptians believed in purgatory.

In the centre of this Division the boat of the sun is being drawn along by four gods belonging to it as before. Before these are nine gods with projecting elbows and covered shoulders called “holders of Ennutchi,” ; they are joined together by a rope; these gods follow twelve men who are described as the souls of the men who are in the Ṭuat,” and both groups of beings proceed towards a god who holds a sceptre, and is called Ḥer-qenbet-f,. The duty of this god was to call the souls of the righteous and put them in their dwellings, by the corner of those who lived near him. Rā addresses the gods who tow his boat aloŋg, and bids them to pull with vigour, and to be strong of arm and firm of limb, and swift of foot, and bold of soul to make a prosperous way for him to the hidden circles,.

Next he addresses the figures with draped shoulders who bear the serpent Ennutchi, and bids them to draw him along; and then praises those who have spoken truth, , upon earth, and have magnified the forms of God,, and decrees for them cakes for their souls, wind for their nostrils, green herbs from Sekhet-Ȧaru, and a place among the gods of right and truth,, in the corner of the abode of Rā where the companions of the god pass sentences of doom. The doctrine here preached is essentially that of Osiris, and there is no wonder that the Book of Pylons was not popular with the priests of Ȧmen.


Sixth Division of the Ṭuat

image right: The Sixth  Hour of the Night.

The name of the pylon of the Sixth Division (TODO: NOTE) or the Sixth Hour is Nebt-āḥa, , the guardian at the entrance to the corridor is Maā-ȧb,, “Right of heart,” and he who is at the end is Sheta-ȧb, , “Secret Heart.” The wall is guarded by twelve gods in mummied forms, who are called “the gods and  “goddesses who are in this Pylon,”.

Behind the wall is a chamber, the wall of which has upon it a row of spear heads, and inside we see the god Osiris seated upon the top of a flight of nine steps, on each of which stands a god ; thus the whole company of the gods of Osiris are here represented. Osiris wears a double crown,, and holds in his hands the sceptre,, and the emblem of “life.”

Before him stands a mummied figure who forms the pillar of a pair of scales, and who may be regarded as the personification of the Great Balance with which we are familiar in the Judgment Scene as depicted in papyri. In the pan of the scales is the bird of evil,. Near the scales is a boat in which are an ape and a pig ; the ape is urging the pig along with a stick. In the upper part of the scene are the heads of four oryxes and a figure of the god Anubis.

The difficult texts which accompany this scene tell us that the

“enemies of Osiris are beneath his feet, the gods and the spirits are before him ; he is the foe of the damned, he repulses the enemies, and he destroys them, and effects their slaughter.

The bearer of the hatchet, and the supporter of the scales protect him who is in Ȧmenti, who resteth in the Ṭuat, and who passeth through darkness and shadow.

Above is Joy, and below are Right and Truth (). The god resteth and giveth forth the light of Maāt which he hath made.”

The ape in the boat is said to hand over the pig to punishment “when the god riseth,” and Anubis says,

“O ye who bring words true or false to me [remember] that it is Thoth who weigheth them.”

Concerning Osiris we read,

“When the weighing of words taketh place he smiteth evil; he hath a right heart, and he holdeth the words in the Scales in the holy place wherein the trial of the secret things of the secrets of the spirits taketh place. It is the god who riseth who hath made all the beings who are in the Ṭuat.”

The text which relates to the four inverted heads of oryxes is not clear in its meaning, but it says that their dwelling-place is the Ȧmeḥet, a district in the Elysian Fields, and that they hide or protect the spirits. We must note in passing the position of the Sixth Division of the Ṭuat. Assuming that the Ṭuat was regarded as a nearly circular valley which curved round from the West, where the sun set, to the North, and curved round from the North to the East, where the sun rose, it follows if all the twelve divisions of the Ṭuat be equal in length, that the Sixth Division would be very near the most northerly part of the Ṭuat.

And this is exactly where it was intended to be, for the most northerly part of the Ṭuat would include the greater part of the Delta, where the principal shrines of Osiris, i.e., Mendes and Busiris, were situated, and it was only right to make the position of the kingdom of Osiris on earth to correspond with that of his domain in the Ṭuat.

Unlike the other divisions of the Ṭuat, the Sixth Division contains no representation of the god Rā, and the texts belonging to it do not even mention his name ; the Book of Pylons made Osiris absolutely supreme in his own dominions, and the exclusion of Rā, or Ȧmen-Rā, from them was clearly the cause which made the work unpopular with all the worshippers of the great god of Thebes.

The position of Osiris on the top of a flight of steps explains the allusions to the “god who is on his staircase” in the Book of the Dead, and it proves that it is this god who is represented on the wooden plaque of Semti,[11] and before whom the king is dancing. The Sun-god Rā, having arrived at the north of the Ṭuat, must now make his way towards the East.


Seventh Division of the Ṭuat

The serpent who guards the pylon of the Seventh Division or the Seventh Hour[12] is called Ākhan-maati,, and the guardian at the end of the corridor is called Shepi,; but the mutilated state of the scene renders it impossible to give the name of the pylon or of the guardian of the entrance to the corridor.

On the right side of the boat of the god are a number of beings bearing a rope, which is usually made to resemble a serpent, and on the left side are :—

  1. A god bending over a staff; his name is Men-sheta,, “Stablisher of what is secret.”
  2. A number of mummied forms extended on couches, who are described as the “mighty spirits.”

These beings are commanded by Rā to uncover themselves and to drive away darkness. In the centre is the boat of the Sun-god being towed along, presumably by four gods of the Ṭuat as before. Marching in front of those who tow the boat are twelve gods with sceptres, and four mummied forms who cry out to the inhabitants of this Division of the Ṭuat to praise Rā, for he will weigh words and will destroy their enemy.


Eighth Division of the Ṭuat

image right: The Eighth Hour of the Night.

The pylon of the Eighth Division or the Eighth Hour is called Bekhkhi, , and the name of the snake-god, its guardian, is Set-ḥrȧ, ; the guardian of the entrance to the corridor is called Benen, , and the guardian at its end is Ḥept-ta, . The wall is protected by nine gods in mummied forms, .

On the right side of the boat of the god are :—

  1. Twelve beings in human form, who are described as the “sovereign chiefs who give bread, Maāt, and green herbs to “the souls of Ta-neserser,”.
  2. Nine souls, in the form of bearded human-headed hawks, with their hands raised in adoration ; these are the “souls of Ta-neserser,” which are fed with bread and green herbs by the command of the god Rā.

On the left hand side of the boat of Rā are :—

  1. Horus leaning on a staff.
  2. Twelve men, who represent the enemies of Osiris that have been burnt in the fire, with their arms tied together behind their backs, each group of four in a different way.

Opposite the first of these is a huge serpent called Kheti,, which belches forth a stream of fire into his face ; on the back of the serpent stand seven gods.

The twelve beings are those on whom punishment has been inflicted by Horus at the command of Rā, who has decreed the death both of their bodies and of their souls because of what they did against Osiris, whose mysteries they despised, and whose image they tore from the sanctuary. The serpent Kheti, which is commanded by Horus to consume the foes of his father Osiris, is adjured to burn up both the souls and the bodies of these wicked ones.

In the centre of this division are:—

  1. The boat of the sun being towed by four gods as before.
  2. “The dweller in Nu” leaning on a staff.
  3. A rectangular lake in which are sixteen men, four of whom bathe, , four float, , four swim, , and four dive, .

The gods who tow the boat say,

“Let there be praise to the soul of Rā in heaven, and adoration to his body upon earth; for heaven is made new by his soul, and earth is made new by his body. Hail!

We open for thee heaven, we make straight for thee the ways of Ȧḳert. Rest thyself, O Rā, upon thy hidden things ; the hidden ones are adored in thy forms.”

He who dwelleth in Nu also addresses those who are in the lake.


Ninth Division of the Ṭuat

The Ninth Hour of the Night

The pylon of the Ninth Division or Ninth Hour, is called Āāt-shefsheft, ; the serpent which guards it is Āb-ta, ; and the guardians of the corridor are Ānḥefta, , and Ermen-ta, . The wall is guarded by nine gods in mummied forms, .

On the right hand side of the boat of the Sun-god are:—

  1. Four gods of the South,, each wearing the white crown, and grasping a rope which is also held by a man who is called “the master of the front,”, between the man and these four gods is a pillar surmounted by a bearded head, with a white crown on it, which is being raised by means of the rope.
  2. A liawk-headed sphinx with the white crown on his head, and a bearded head, with a white crown on it, resting on his hind quarters. Standing on his back is a human figure which is surmounted by the heads of Horus and Set.
  3. Four gods of the North,, each wearing the red crown, and grasping a rope which is also held by a man who is called “the master of the back,”; between the man and these four gods is a pillar, surmounted by a bearded head with a red crown on it, which is being raised by means of the rope.
  4. A personage called Ȧpu,, holding the serpent Shemti,, which has four heads at each end of his body.
  5. A personage holding the serpent Bȧth,, with a head at each end of his body; on his back stands a serpent which is called Ṭepi,, and which is provided at each end of his body with four human heads, breasts, and arms, and four pairs of human legs.
  6. Two men holding a rope (?).

On the left hand of the boat of the god are:—

Sixteen human forms which represent the

  1. souls of Amentet,
  2. the followers of Thoth,
  3. the followers of Horus,
  4. the followers of Osiris ;

the first four have the heads of men,
the second four the heads of ibises,
the third four the heads of hawks,
and the fourth four the heads of rams.

These sixteen beings draw a rope to which is attached a double serpent with four heads, two at each end of his body, and one pair of legs at each end which support the larger serpent. The serpent is called Khepri,, and on one of his folds is perched the hawk Ḥeru-ṭuati,. At the other end of the rope are eight human forms called Ȧkhmiu, . In the centre of this Division the boat of the god is being towed along as before.

Before him march :—

  1. Six human forms, four apes, and four women, each holding a rope (?); and
  2. Three men holding a rope Avhich is thrown over the head and held in the hands by a prostrate man who has the ears of an ass, and who is called Ȧai,, i.e., “Ass.”

Each man holds a pike which he is about to drive into the prostrate body.

In front of the man are :—

  1. The serpent Āpep, and
  2. The crocodile, with a tail which terminates in a serpent’s head, called Shesshes,.

The beings here described are those who work magic for Rā on the arch-fiend Āpep, and they bid him come to the place of slaughter that he may be slain ; they say,

“the slaughtering places are against thee, and the Ȧai gods are against thee,”


The three beings with pikes drive their weapons into Āpep, and destroy utterly the serpent Sesi,; and they keep fast hold of the rope of Ai,, and do not let that serpent rise up towards the boat of the god.


Tenth Division of the Ṭuat

image right: The Tenth Hour of the Night.

The pylon of the Tenth Division or the Tenth Hour is called Tcheserit,; the serpent-god who guards it is Sethu, ; and the guardians of the corridor are Nemi, , and Kefi, . The wall is guarded by sixteen uraei.

On the right hand of the boat of the god are:—

  1. Four beings, each holding a knife and a rope (?).
  2. Four beings, similarly armed, but each having four serpents’ heads; these are called Ȧntiu, , and Ḥentiu, , respectively.
  3. The serpent Āpep, “whose voice goeth round about in the Ṭuat,” held by a chain which is grasped by four beings, Sṭefiu,, and twelve gods, and a mighty hand called the “hidden body,” .

On the chain, near Āpep’s head, is stretched out the scorpion-goddess Serqet.

Behind the hand, and growing out of the chain are :—

  1. Seb, , who grasps a small chain to which is attached the serpent Uamemti, .
  2. Mest, , Ḥāpi, , Ṭuamutef, , and Qebḥsennuf, .

At the end stands Khenti-Ȧmenti, or Osiris. The beings on this side of the Ṭuat are engaged in destroying Āpep and the foes of the sun-god so that they may not attack the boat of the sun when it comes to a narrow passage.

On the left hand side of the boat of Rā are:—

  1. The twelve Ȧkhmu-seku gods,, holding paddles.
  2. Twelve women, who represent the hours.
  3. Four gods with sceptres, Bānt,, Seshshȧ, ,  Ka-Ȧment, , and Renen-sebu,.
  4. A monkey on a standard, , with a star over his head, described as the “god of Rethenu” (Syria),.
  5. An eye (utchat) on a standard,.
  6. A god with a sceptre.

Along the middle of this division the boat of the god is towed as usual by four gods.

Before it are:—

  1. The star god Unti, .
  2. Four deities, Sekhet, Ābesh, , Serq, , and Horus.
  3. Three star gods, who tow a small boat in which are the “face of the disk,” , and a uraeus.
  4. A winged uraeus called Semi, , standing upon its tail.
  5. A god called Besi, , pouring flame upon a standard surmounted by the head of a horned animal.
  6. A serpent caled Ānkhi, , with a bearded god in mummied form growing out from each side of its body.
  7. Four women, with hands raised in adoration, who are called “the adorers,” .
  8. The double god Horus-Set, with two heads and two pairs of arms and hands on one body, standing upon a platform which rests on two bows; from each end of the platform spring three uraei.

All these beings are supposed to be employed in helping Rā to continue his course through the Tenth Division, and to make his way to the region of the sunrise ; it is evident that most of them are personifications of the stars which herald the approach of the dawn.


Eleventh Division of the Ṭuat

image right: The Eleventh Hour of the Night.

The pylon of the Eleventh Division or the Eleventh Hour is called Shetat-besu,, and the serpent which guards it is called Ȧm-net-f,; the guardians of the corridor are Meṭes,, and Sheṭāu,. Before the wall are two large sceptres surmounted by the white crown ; one of these is called Sar,, i.e., Osiris, and the other Horus.

On the right hand of the boat of Rā are:—

  1. Four gods, called “bearers of light,” , holding disks on their right hands.
  2. Four gods, called “bearers of stars,” , holding stars in their right hands.
  3. Four gods “who go out,” .
  4. The gods Ba, , Khnemu, , Penṭer, , and Ṭenṭ, , ram-headed.
  5. Four gods, Horus, Horus-Sepṭ, Sepṭ, and “he who is in his double boat,” , hawk headed.
  6. Eight women, the Hours, seated on coiled up serpents and each holding a star in her hand ; these are the “protecting hours,” .
  7. The god Sebek-Rā, crocodile-headed.

All these are personifications of stars which bear along the boat of Rā towards the day-break, for they wish to see it floating once more on the bosom of Nut, ; and when

“the arms of the sky-god Nu receive Rā they shout praises with the stars which they carry, and go to him in the heights of heaven in the bosom of Nut.”[13]

In connexion with the idea of the stars praising Rā at sunrise we may note its similarity to that expressed in Job xxxviii. 7,

“When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.”

On the left of the boat of Rā are:—

  1. Four beings, Sethuniu-ṭep,, wearing white crowns.
  2. Four bearded gods called Ȧkebiu, i.e., “wailers,” .
  3. Four beings, Khnemiu,, wearing red crowns.
  4. Four bearded gods called Renniu,.
  5. Twelve goddesses, the female counterparts of the first three groups of gods.
  6. Four gods, with bowed bodies, and
  7. The cat-headed goddess Mȧti,.

These beings were supposed to place white crowns on the heads of the gods in the train of Rā, and though their souls rose up, they were never able to leave this Division of the Ṭuat or pass out of the pylon. Their duty was to weep for Osiris after Rā had passed out of Ȧment,[14] and to be with him, as far as their souls were concerned, but their bodies had to stay in their places ; they also had to raise up Maāt and to stablish it in the shrine of Rā.[15]

It was they who

“fixed the period of the years which those who were decreed for the Ṭuat should pass there, and the period of those who were to live in heaven;”[16]

but they

“tore their hair in grief before the great god in Ȧmentet, for although they drove away Set from the pylon they themselves were not allowed to enter into the heights of heaven.” [17]

In the centre of this division we have the boat of Rā being drawn along by four of its gods as usual. Preceding these are :—

  1. A group of nine gods, each of whom holds a knife,, in the right hand, and a sceptre,, in the left; the first four are jackal-headed. They are described as the “nine gods who annihilate Āpep,”.
  2. The serpent Āpep chained to the earth by five chains which are called the “gods who produce winds,”.
  3. Four apes,, each holding before him a large hand.
  4. The god of Ȧmenti,, wearing the crown of the South.
  5. The goddess of the North, Ḥerit (?),, wearing the crown of the North.
  6. The god Sebekhti,.

These gods of the Ṭuat say,

“[This is] the exit from Ament, and the place for rest in the two divisions of Nu, and [the god] maketh his transformations in the hands of Nu. This god doth not enter heaven () , but he openeth the Ṭuat upwards in his transformations [which take place] in Nu.

What openeth the Ṭuat into heaven are the two hands of the god whose name is hidden,  . He existeth in the darkness which is a solid thing,  , and Rā cometh forth [in] it from the night,  .

Those who are in this portion take their knives in their hands, and grasp their weapons, and smite Āpep, and effect his slaughter, and smash his joints which are in heaven. The chains of this fiend are in the hands of the children of Horus, they advance to the god with their fetters in their fingers.

The god counteth his members after the hidden one hath opened his [arms] to the Eye of Horus. The Worm () who is in this scene is fettered by the children of Horus.”

The other of gods

“acclaim Kā in the Eastern horizon of heaven, and the four apes guide him who created them, two on the right hand, and two on the left, to the double ȧtert () of this god.”


Twelfth Division of the Ṭuat

image right: The Twelfth Hour of the Night.

The pylon of the Twelfth Division or Twelfth Hour is called Ṭesert-baiu,, i.e., “Red-Souls,” and its serpent god is Sebi,; the two guardians of the corridor are Pai, , and Ȧkhekhi, . In front of the wall are two poles, each of which is surmounted by a bearded head; on one head is the disk of the god Tem, and on the other the beetle of the god Kheperȧ, i.e., two forms of the Sun-god.

Close to the pylon “Red-Souls” was the pylon of the serpent god Reri, , each side of which was guarded by the two uraei of Isis and Nephthys, one on each side.

When Rā had passed through these doors he emerged triumphantly from the Ṭuat, and his boat floated on the waters of Nu, i.e., in the sky. In the scene in which this is depicted we see the boat containing the beetle of Kheperȧ and the disk of Rā, with the five gods Seb, Shu, Ḥek (for Ḥeka), Ḥu, and Sa, and the two goddesses Isis and Nephthys, and three gods of pylons. The god Nu, , is seen holding up the boat with his hands, which “come forth from the water, and bear up this god.”

A little distance away from the boat is a sort of island which is formed by Osiris, the body of the god being bent round in such a way as to cause the tips of his toes to touch the back of his head; the text says that it is Osiris himself who forms the encircling border of the Ṭuat. On the head of the god stands the goddess Nut, , with arms outstretched ready to receive Rā. Thus the god reaches the end of the Ṭuat and passes by an opening through its border, which is painted black, dotted everywhere with red spots. We have seen that Rā was omnipotent in all divisions of the underworld, except one, which was sacred to Osiris ; in this neither Rā nor his name appears.


Book of the Underworld

We may now pass on to the consideration of the contents of the “Book of that which is in the Underworld.” The authorities for the text and vignettes of this work are numerous,[18] and from the copies of both which have come down to us it is clear that the book was one of considerable length. But long before the end of the XXIst Dynasty (about B.C. 1100) the Egyptians found it impossible to obtain or to pay for complete copies with all the vignettes, and a shortened form of it consequently came into general use.

This shortened form, which is called an “Abrégé” by M. Maspero, and a “Résumé” by M. Lefebure, was supposed to contain all that was absolutely necessary for the dead, and it became very popular throughout Egypt.

In the tomb of Seti I.[19] we find a copy of the full text, with vignettes, of the first eleven hours, and also a copy of the “Abridgment.” The space at our disposal will not admit of a detailed description of the longer work, and therefore a notice of the “Abridgment” only is given here. The complete work is entitled, “The beginning of the horn of the West, the remote boundary of thick darkness,” . The “horn of

the West” means the most westerly point where the sun sets, and keku samu, i.e., “thick darkness,” or “solid darkness,” refers to the extreme end of the Ṭuat, which is painted to resemble a black wall, dotted everywhere with red spots, and which contains an opening through which the boat of Rā emerges every morning. The shorter work is entitled “Abridgment of this book,” .[20]


First Hour of the Night

image right: The First Hour of the Night.

The First Hour of the night is called Ushemet ḥātu khefti Rā,[21] i.e., “Crusher of the forehead of the enemies of Rā,” and the place through which the god passes in it is described as an ārrit, , i.e., a hall, or a sort of ante-chamber of the Ṭuat. It is quite unlike any part of the Ṭuat, for when Rā is in this hall he has not yet arrived in that dismal valley. But even when here he is an entirely different being from what he was in the day-time, for instead of being the sun of day, he is the sun of night, i.e., a dead god, in fact a mere dead body which is called Ȧf,, i.e., “Flesh,” and is represented with the head of a ram surmounted by a solar disk.

In the day time he travelled in the Āṭet boat, , but at night he made his journey along the river of the Ṭuat in the Sektet boat,, in fact, in the same boat in which he sailed over the sky from noon to sunset.

In the boat with the dead Sun-god Ȧf are

  1. Ȧp-uat,,
  2. “The Opener of the ways,”
  3. Sa,,
  4. Ḥeru-Ḥekenu, ,
  5. Nehes, ,
  6. Ḥu,,
  7. the double of Shu,,
  8. the captain of the boat, ,
  9. and the “lady of the boat,”.

The last-named celestial personage changed every hour, for she represented the local goddess of one hour who was supposed to be the appointed guide of the god through one portion of the Ṭuat only ; knowing the way through her own district, she was able to instruct the captain of the boat how and where to sail over difficult reaches of the river.

The dwellers in the First Hour of the night appear to have been the apes who opened the doors of the ārrit to the god, and the beings who were necessary for the singing of songs of praise to Rā, and for piloting his boat through this hall to the Ṭuat, and a large number of celestial beings who are mentioned in the text, but who are otherwise unknown, and the souls of the dead who had passed from the earth to this intermediate place and who were waiting for the opportunity of entering into the boat of Rā, wherein they would fain continue their journey.

Why the last-named were here cannot be said, but it is probable that such souls belonged to men and women who, when living upon earth, were unable to avail themselves of all the costly and complicated ceremonies prescribed by the priests, and the numerous amulets which were thought to be necessary for the welfare of the soul in the Ṭuat.

The descriptive text of the First Hour reads:—

“This “god entereth from the earth into the ārrit of the horizon of the West, and he must travel one hundred and twenty ȧtru () in this ārrit before he arriveth at the gods of the Ṭuat. Net-Rā () is the name of this first country of the Ṭuat. Rā giveth fields to the gods who are in his following, and he beginneth to pass decrees and to give commands concerning the things which are done in the Ṭuat by the gods of this country.

Whosoever shall do these things according to this similitude of the hidden things of the Ṭuat, and shall recognize that they are similitudes of the great god himself, shall find them of benefit to him on the earth, and they shall do him good in the great Ṭuat.”

The fact that this region is called “country” shows that it was regarded almost as a part of this world, and it is definitely stated that it is 120 ȧtru in length; now, the ȧtru is said to be the equivalent of the Greek , i.e., about an English furlong, and thus the region of the sunset traversed by Rā in his first hour would be fifteen miles in length. It is probable, however, that 120 ȧtru were intended to be a greater distance than fifteen miles, for the second hour brought Rā into the domain of Osiris, which is more than fifteen miles from Thebes.


Second Hour of the Night

image right: The Second Hour of the Night.

The name of the Second Hour is Shesat māket neb-s, i.e., “She who knoweth how to protect her lord.”[22] The country passed through is called Ur-nes,, which the late Dr. Birch compared with, and believed to be equivalent to, the Greek σχοῖνός; this name, however, seems to be that of the Nile in the second region of the Ṭuat, and in any case it is not applied to any other division or hour except by accident.[23]

The descriptive text says,

“This great god next arriveth in Ur-nes, which is three hundred and nine ȧtru in length, and one hundred and twenty ȧtru in width (i.e., this division measures about 50 miles by 15 miles). The name of the gods who are in this country is ‘Souls of the Ṭuat,’, and he who knoweth their name shall be with them.

This great god will give to him fields, the situation of which shall be in the country of Ur-nes; he shall stand up with the gods who stand up, and he shall follow after this great god.

He shall make his way through the Ṭuat, he shall see the tresses of the gods who wear long flowing hair, he shall trample upon the Eater of the Ass (), and after the division of the unoccupied land hath been made, he shall eat bread in the Boat of the Earth (), and there shall be given to him of the first things of Tatubȧ ().”

The text adds that those who draw pictures of these Souls of the Ṭuat and make offerings to them upon earth will gain benefit therefrom a million fold after death; moreover, it will be extremely useful to them in the Ṭuat if they know what words are addressed by the gods to the great god.

The gods with long[24] flowing hair are the four children of Horus, Mesthȧ, Ḥāpi, Ṭuamutef and Qebḥsennuf, each of whom wore a lock or tress of hair, which became a pillar-sceptre, and supported one of the four corners of heaven ; these four gods became at a later period the gods of the cardinal points and the lords of the four quarters of heaven.

The Eater of the Ass is, of course, the great serpent of darkness, probably Āpepi, and the Ass is a form of the Sun-god, between whom and the serpent was continual Avar ; the Ass was connected with the Sun-god by reason of his great virile powers. According to M. Maspero,1 the Boat of the Earth is a name given to the Boat of Rā when it reaches the earth ; Tatubȧ was probably an earth god.

The illustrated version of the Second Hour shows that the boat of Rā was preceded by four boats.

1) The first of these had a human head on each end, and on its side were the picture of heaven,, and the Utchat,. In the boat rests the moon on a pedestal, and behind it is the god who sets up the feather of Maāt. This is the boat of Osiris as the Moon, who is one of the Souls of the Ṭuat.

2) The second boat has a human head surmounted by the plumes of Ȧmen,, on each end, and in it is a huge sistrum, the emblem of Hathor; on each side of it is a goddess. In the bows is a beetle,. This is the boat of Isis as Hathor, who is one of the Souls of the Ṭuat.

3) The third boat has the white crown at the bows, and the red crown at the stern ; in it, between the two standards, which are the symbols of the gods Anpu (Anubis) and Ȧpuat, is a huge lizard, out of the back of which spring a human head and the white crown. This is the boat of the god who opens the ways, and who is one of the Souls of the Ṭuat.

4) The fourth boat has a uraeus at the bows and stern. In the centre is a kneeling woman without arms, and on each side of her stands a woman also armless ; at each end of the boat is a plant, or shrub. This is the boat of Nepr,, the god of grain and of vegetation, and a form of Osiris, and he is also one of the Souls of the Ṭuat.

The gods who minister to Osiris in the Second Hour are:—

  1. Isis who avengeth, ,
  2. Seb of the two corners, ,
  3. Khnemu of the two corners, ,
  4. Thoth on his stairs, ,
  5. Ȧfu on his stairs, ,
  6. Ketuit-ṭen-ba, ,
  7. Kherp-ḥu-khefti, ,
  8. Ḥeru-Ṭuat, ,
  9. Seben-ḥesq-khaibit, ,
  10. the two ape-gods Benth, , and Ȧānā, ,
  11. the god with two faces, ,
  12. Horus-Set, Mest-en-Ȧsȧr,
  13. Meṭ-en-Ȧsȧr, ,
  14. the term of Osiris,
  15. and a lion-headed goddess Sesenet-khu,.

Behind all these come seven goddesses,

  1. Mest-tcheses, ,
  2. Āmām-mitu, ,
  3. Her-ṭuaiu, ,
  4. Sekhet of Thebes, ,
  5. Āmet-tcheru, ,
  6. Ament-nefert, ,
  7. and Nit-ṭep-Ament, .

On the other side of the boat of the god are

  1. Nebui, ,
  2. Besabes-uāa, ,
  3. Nepr, ,
  4. Ṭepu, ,
  5. Ḥetch-ā, ,
  6. Āb, ,
  7. Nepen, ,
  8. Ār-ȧst-neter, ,
  9. Āmu-āa, ,
  10. Ḥeru-khabit, ,
  11. Anubis,
  12. Osiris-Unnefer,
  13. Khui, ,
  14. Horus of the two faces, i.e., Horus and Set,
  15. Ḥen-Ḥeru, ,
  16. Ḥun, ,
  17. Ḥatchetchu, ,
  18. Neḥr, ,
  19. Makhi, ,
  20. Renpti, ,
  21. Āfau, ,
  22. and Fa-trȧu, .

All these gods worship the great god, and guide him on his way, and weep when he has left them; some of them bear to him the prayers of those who are upon earth, and also lead disembodied souls to the forms which belong to them; others apparently mark the seasons of the year.

When Rā addressed the beings there, they came to life at the sound of his voice, and they breathed again ; he gave them food in abundance, and the gods gave water to the spirits to drink at his command, and the hearts of the rebels of Rā were burnt in the fire. It is, however, clear from the texts that although Osiris was the Lord of the Second Hour Rā was the overlord of Osiris, and that it was he who, like Osiris, made gifts to the dead.

On the other hand, the followers of Osiris had to perform service for Rā, and one of their chief duties consisted in keeping in check his enemies, who were always attempting to prevent the progress of his boat; in a way the service of these followers was unrewarded, for they were condemned to remain always in the same place, and to perform the same duty.

From the above paragraph the reader will gain some idea of the difference between the illustrated version of the Second Hour and the abstract of it which is found in the “Abridgment.” As the short version makes no attempt to supply the souls which were supposed to make use of it with the names of the various gods and beings in it, we can only assume that they learnt them when on earth in the body.

The larger version of the Second Hour is extremely interesting in showing what a subordinate place the priests of Ȧmen-Rā made Osiris occupy in respect of Rā when passing through the Ṭuat.


Fourth Hour of the Night

image right: The Third Hour of the Night.

The descriptive text of the Third Hour, which is called Ṭent-baiu,[25] says :—

“This great god next arrives in the Country of those who slay (), and he roweth over the Stream of Osiris (), a space three hundred and nine ȧtru long,[26] and one hundred and twenty ȧtru wide (i.e., this portion of the Tuat measured about 38½ miles long by 15 miles wide).

This great god giveth commands to the gods who are in the following of Osiris concerning this city, and he assigns to them estates from this country.

The name of the gods who are in this field is ‘Hidden Souls’ (), and whosoever knoweth their name shall ascend to the place where Osiris is, and water shall be given unto him for his Field.

The name of this Field is Net-neb-uā-kheper-āutu ().

Whosoever shall make drawings of these Hidden Souls together with a representation of the hidden things of the Ṭuat—beginning the same from the West—it shall be of great benefit not only to him upon earth, but in the Underworld, and indeed always.

Whosoever knoweth them shall pass [unhurt] by them as they roar, and shall not fall into their cauldrons.

Whosoever knoweth these things, being attached to his place, shall have his bread with Rā.

Whosoever, being a soul and a spirit, knoweth these things shall have the mastery over his legs, and he shall never enter into the place of destruction, and he shall come forth in his forms and smell the air at his appointed hour.”

The illustrated version of the Third Hour represents the boat of Rā sailing over the “Stream of Osiris” preceded by three boats, each of which is moved onwards by two men with paddles ; the beings in these boats are all forms of the god Osiris, and the gods who stand on each side of the stream belong to his cycle, or company.

These latter had their bodies of flesh, to which their shadows had been re-united, and their souls talked in them, as soon as Rā had spoken to them; they made answer to the god, and sang his praise whilst he was with them, but their cries of joy changed to lamentations when he left them. They could not go with him, because it was their duty to guard their district, and to destroy the enemies of Rā, and to support the life of Rā, and to make the Nile to flow.

Among the gods in this Hour were the nine forms of the god Osiris:—

  1. Osiris, lord of Ament, ;
  2. Khenti-Ȧment, ;
  3. Osiris the Throne, ;
  4. Osiris, conqueror of millions, ;
  5. Osiris the double of Ament, ;
  6. Osiris on his staircase, ;
  7. Osiris prince of the gods, ;
  8. Osiris king of Lower Egypt, ;
  9. and Osiris-Saḥu, .

The duties of the beings who are grouped with these are clear from their names, for these refer to destruction in one form or another, and the explanatory text tells us that they are employed in

“hacking and cutting souls, in shutting up the shadows of the dead, and in dragging the occupants of tombs to their place of slaughter;”

moreover, they shoot out flames, they cause fires to come into being, and the heads of the enemies of Rā are cut off by their swords. The master of the region traversed in the Third Hour is called Khatrȧ,, and we learn from the speech of Rā that the inhabitants of the mythological district over which he presides were created by Rā specially to follow and to protect Osiris.

To these he says,

“O ye whom I have hidden,
whose souls I have put in a secret place,
whom I have set in the following of Osiris to defend him; to accompany his images,
to make an end of those who attack him
(even as the god Hu is behind thee, O Osiris,
to defend thee, to accompany thy images,
to destroy those who attack thee, even as Hu is to thee, O Osiris,
and even as Sa is to thee, O Khenti Ȧmentet),
ye souls whose forms are stablished,
ye souls whose magical powers make certain your coming into being,
who breathe the air [through your nostrils, who look] with your faces,
who listen with your ears,
who are apparelled in your raiment,
who are clothed with your swathings,
who have offerings made to you at stated seasons by the priests of God,
who have estates set apart for your own behoof and benefit,
whose souls are not cast down,
whose bodies are not overthrown: [O Hidden Souls, I say] open ye your circles,
and set ye yourselves in your own places,
for I have come to see my bodies,
and to look upon the similitudes of myself which are in the Ṭuat,
and it is you who have brought me along and have given me the opportunity of coming to them.

And now I lead thy soul to heaven, O Osiris, and thy soul to earth, O Khenti Ȧuḳert, with thy gods behind thee, and thy spirits before thee, and thy being and thy forms [about thee].

And thy spirit hath its word of power, O Osiris, and you, ye spirits who are in the following of Osiris, have your words of power.

I go up on the earth and the day is behind me; I pass through the night,
and my soul rejoins itself to your forms during the day,
and I fulfil the ceremonies of the night which are needful for you.

I have created your souls for mine own use,
so that they may be behind me,
and what I have done for them will preserve you from falling down to the place of destruction.” [27]

image right: The Fourth Hour of the Night.

The Fourth Hour of the night, which is called Sekhemus [28] conducts the boat of the Sun-god through a region of a very different character from the earlier divisions. The descriptive text says,

“The majestv of this great god next arriveth in the hidden Circle of Amentet, and lie performeth the designs of the gods who are therein by means of his voice without seeing them.

The name of this Circle is Ānkhet-kheperu (), and the name of the pylon of this Circle is Ȧment-sthau ().

Whosoever knoweth this plan of the hidden paths of Re-stau () , and of the winding roads of the Ȧmmeḥet () , and of the hidden pylons which are in the Land of Seker, he who is on his sand shall eat the bread which hath been prepared for the mouth of the living gods who are in the temple of Tem.

He who knoweth these things shall [know] the paths rightly, and shall have power to journey along the roads of Re-stau, and to see the forms (or guides) in the Ȧmmeḥet.”

The Circle Ȧmmeḥet is, as we learn from Chapter cxlix of the Book of the Dead, the Sixth Ȧat, or district of the domain of Osiris which is presided over by the god Seker; the deceased addresses it thus:—

“Hail, thou Ȧmmeḥet which art holy unto the gods,
and art hidden for the spirits,
and art baleful unto the dead;
the name of the god who dwelleth in thee is Sekher-Āṭ (?) [or Sekher-remu].

Homage to thee, O Ȧmmeḥet,
I have come to see the gods who dwell in thee.

Uncover your faces and put off your head-dresses when ye meet me,
for, behold, I am a mighty god among you,
and I have come to prepare provisions for you.

Let not Sekher-Āṭ(?) have dominion over me,
let not the divine slaughterers come after me,
let not the murderous fiends come after me,
but let me live upon sepulchral offerings among you.” 1

image right: The Fourth Hour of the Night.

The illustrated edition of the Fourth Hour shows us the boat of Rā passing through an entirely new country, in fact a region which is filled with huge and fearsome snakes, and represents the region over which the god Seker presides.

Here there is no river with banks lined with the gods and the souls of the dead, and here there are no fields to be distributed by Rā among the faithful followers of himself and of Osiris ; indeed there are so few beings to render him service that he is obliged to betake himself to another kind of boat, and the god of day is compelled to glide through the passages of the dark and gloomy land almost without a following of gods.

Rā stands within a shrine in his boat as before, but the boat itself is formed of a serpent with a head at each end of his body ; this boat is hauled over the sandy ground of the god “who is upon his sand” by gods of the company of Osiris, with whom, however, are mingled the gods of the company of Ptah of Memphis, and Osiris himself is merged in Seker and becomes Osiris Seker.

The narrow way, or road, of Re-stau has three doors, which are called

  1. Māṭes-sma-ta,,
  2. Meṭes-mau-āt,,
  3. and Meṭes-neḥeḥ,,

and by these it is divided into three parts. Into one part the god Rā neither enters nor travels, but the door thereof obeys his voice ; in another part is the body of Seker, who is on his sand, the hidden form which can be neither looked at nor seen ; another part is that through which Seker passeth, but neither the gods, nor the spirits, nor the dead go through it, and it is filled with the souls which have been consumed by the fire that comes forth from the mouth of the goddess Ām-mit. The region through which the boat of Rā travels is full of thick darkness, and the light which the god usually emits is unable to penetrate it; in this difficulty he is helped upon his way by the light of the flames of fire which issue from the mouth of the serpent which forms the body of his boat. Among the gods who march in front of the boat are Thoth and Horus, who stand facing each other with outstretched hands in which they hold an Utchat,, which is here to be identified with the god Seker. The serpents which are passed by the god are of various kinds and of different sizes.

  1. The first, called Ḥetch-nāu, , lies at full length in a boat, each end of which terminates in a human head, and is the guardian of Seker;
  2. the second is three-headed, and he moves over the ground on four human legs and feet;
  3. the third is called Ȧmen, ;
  4. the fourth is Hekent, , and has a human head growing out of its body just above the tail;
  5. and the fifth is Menmenu, , which has three heads, and bears on its back fourteen stars and fourteen human heads surmounted bydisks.

Next we have three huge serpents near the great scorpion Ankhet, , and a huge uraeus, to which libations are being poured out by a man ; and a three-headed serpent, with wings, which moves along on four human feet and legs ; and the serpent Neḥeb-kau, , which has two heads at one end of its body, and one head at the other. All these monsters are said to make their journey daily round about the region of the Fourth Hour, and they live upon what they find on their way.


Fifth Hour of the Night

image right: The Fifth Hour of the Night.

The last hour, as we have seen, is a part of the dominions of Seker, but the Fifth Hour, which is called Semit-ḥer-ȧbt-uȧa-s,[29] contains his capital city.

The descriptive text says,

“This great god is drawn along over the actual roads of the Ṭuat, and over the hidden Circle of Seker, the god who is on his sand, and he neither seeth nor looketh upon the hidden figure of the land which containeth the flesh of this god.

The gods who are with this god hear the voice of Rā-Ḥeru (?), and they adore him at the seasons of this god. The name of the pylon of this city is Āḥā-neteru,, and the name of this Circle is Ȧment,.

[Here are] the secret ways of Ȧment, and the doors of the house of Ȧment, and the habitable house () of the earth of Seker, and his flesh, and his members, and his body, in their primeval forms. The name of those who are in this Circle is ‘Baiu ȧımu Ṭuat’ (i.e., Souls in the Ṭuat). The forms who are in their hours and their hidden beings neither see nor look upon this form of Seker himself.

Whosoever maketh a picture of these things which are in Ȧment in the Ṭuat, to the south of the hidden house, and whosoever knoweth these things, his soul shall be at peace, and he shall be satisfied with the offerings of Seker. And Khemit () shall not hack his body in pieces, and he shall go to her in peace. Whosoever shall make offerings to these gods upon earth shall [find] them of benefit to him in the Ṭuat.”

image right: The Fifth Hour of the Night.

The illustrated version of the Fifth Hour shows us Rā travelling in his serpent boat and being towed along by seven gods and seven goddesses, who represent the gods of fourteen days of the month; before these are the divine sovereign chiefs, i.e.,

  1. Ḥer-khu, ,
  2. Ȧn-ḥetep, ,
  3. Ḥer-ḥequi, ,
  4. and Ḥetch-met .

Half way through the hour Rā comes to a mound of sand, the top of which is surmounted by the head of a woman, whereon rests the forepart of a beetle, only one half of which is visible, symbol of the god Kheperȧ; this head indicates the position of the hidden abode wherein is Seker, and when the beetle alights upon it the god Kheperȧ holds converse with that god.

Immediately beneath the head is the “Land of Seker,” which has the shape , and is described as the “hidden land of Seker which guardeth the hidden flesh;” it is surrounded by a wall of sand, and at each end, outside the wall, is a sphinx with the head of a man and the body of a lion. Inside this land is a two-headed, winged serpent, with a tail which terminates in a human head; between the wings stands a figure of the hawkheaded god Seker; this serpent monster represents the god watching over his own image.

The two sphinxes are watched by two serpents, Ṭepȧn,, and Ānkh-ȧapau,; the first serpent enters into the presence of this god, and carries to him daily the offerings which are made by the living, but the second never leaves his place, and lives upon the flames which proceed from his own mouth.

Before the second serpent are four seated gods, who bear on their knees the emblems of “hidden symbols” of Seker, i.e.,, and rest by the side of a lake of water called Nut,; for those are in this lake its waters are like fire, and each of the heads of the four gods which rise above them bears upon it the symbol of fire.

The lake is watched over by the company of gods of Rā, represented by nine axes, and five gods. But before Rā has passed through the Fifth Hour he arrives at a large vaulted chamber, filled with sand, and called, i.e., “Night,” and on each side, clinging by its claws, is a hawk; from the lower part of it goes forth the beetle, only one half of which is visible.

This beetle, or Kheperȧ, typified the germ of life, and when the boat of Rā was drawn on to the top of the mound of sand already described, it was supposed to stop on it as it passed, and having done so, it went to the dead god and raised him up to life.

This chamber was guarded by a two-headed serpent called Ṭer,, and it had to be jealously watched in order to prevent the entrance of any one who would disturb or destroy the germ of life. A little beyond the chamber of sand is a group of seven gods, whose duty it was to inspect the slaughter of the dead in the Ṭuat, and to consume their bodies by the flames of their mouths in the course of each day; and a little further on is the goddess who “lives upon the blood of the dead,” and who is occupied in slaying a man doomed to die by the gods.

When the boat of Rā arrived at the end of the Fifth Hour he saw the star of the “living god, who journeyeth, and journeyeth and passeth,”. Dr. Brugsch, and following him M. Maspero, and others, have identified this star with the planet Venus, the star of the morning, and the identification is undoubtedly correct.

This is an important fact, for, as M. Jéquier has pointed out,[30] coupled with the representation of the beetle going forth from the night to place itself in the boat of Rā, it shows us that the domain of Seker, although reduced to two hours which have been inserted in their proper geographical position in the Ṭuat, certainly at one time formed a complete hell, and that the rising of the sun was the final event which took place in it.


Sixth Hour of the Night

image right: The Sixth Hour of the Night.

The Sixth Hour, which is called Mesperit-ȧrāt-maātu,[31] brings us to the neighbourhood of the shrines of Osiris in the Delta.

The descriptive text says,

“When this great god arriveth at the abyss of water, which is the lady of the gods of the Ṭuat, he holdeth discourse with the gods who are there, and he giveth the command for them to obtain the mastery over their offerings () in this city.

He saileth in this [Field] being provided with his boat, and he commandeth them [to have] their fields for their offerings, and he giveth them water for their streams as they go about the Ṭuat each day.

The name of the pylon of this city is Sepṭ-metu (). The hidden path of Ȧmentet, on the stream of which this great god journeyeth in his boat to perform the affairs of the gods of the Ṭuat, and the collecting of their names, and the manner in which their forms rest, and all that appertaineth to their hidden hours, and the hidden similitude of the Ṭuat, are unknown ....

The majesty of this god uttereth words, and he giveth divine offerings to the gods who are in the Ṭuat, and he standeth near them; they see him, and they have the mastery over their fields and over the gifts which are made to them, and they have their beings through the command which this great god, who is mighty of words, giveth unto them. The name of this district is Metchet-nebt-Ṭuatiu ().”

The third paragraph of the text promises to those who make pictures of the Sixth Hour a participation in the offerings which have been made to the gods in the train of Osiris, and also that offerings shall be made to them by their kinsfolk on earth.

image right: The Sixth Hour of the Night.

The illustrated edition of the Sixth Hour shows us that Rā has no longer any need of the boat which was made of the body of a serpent wherein he passed through the realm of Seker, and that he is once again in his old boat and sailing over the waters of the stream in the Ṭuat.

In front of his boat are :—

  1. Thoth, who is called Khenti-Ṭuat, and who is represented by a dog-headed god holding an ibis on his out-stretched right hand;
  2. and the goddess Ȧment-semu-set,.


Beyond these is a large house with sixteen divisions, in each of which is a god in mummied form; these represent the mansions of Osiris, and four contain kings of the South, four contain kings of the North, four contain Ḥeteptiu,, and four contain Spirits. All these form the guardians of a huge five-headed serpent called Āsh-ḥrȧu,, the body of which is bent round into an irregular oval in such a way that his tail almost touches one of his heads. Lying on his back within this oval is a god who is called Āfu,, i.e., “Flesh,” and as he is touching with his right hand the leg of a beetle which he holds on his head, we may assume that he represents the dead body of Kheperȧ, and is the opposite of the Sun-god in his boat, who is called “Flesh of Ra,”. The sixteen gods mentioned above are addressed by Rā, who commands them to be happy with their offerings, and to protect him, and to slay the serpent Āpepi; they hearken to his voice, and the text goes on to say that it is the voice of Rā which will make the god within the folds of the serpent Āsh-ḥrȧu and the beetle upon his head to move.

image right: The Sixth Hour of the Night.

With these must be mentioned the double company of the gods of Osiris, one company being depicted in human form sitting on invisible thrones; these are:—

  • Ḥetep-Ḥenti-Ṭuat,,
  • Ȧst-ȧmḥit,,
  • Ȧsȧr-ȧm-ȧb-neteru,,
  • Ḥeru-khenti-ȧḥet-f,,
  • Benti-ȧr-ȧḥt-f,,
  • Maā-ȧb-ḳhenti-ȧḥt-f,,
  • and three gods whose names are not given.

The second company of nine gods is represented by nine sceptres, each of which has a knife fixed at its base, ;

  1. the first three are surmounted by the white crowns,,
  2. the second three by the red crowns,,
  3. and the third three by uraei,.

Next we have the lion god Ka-hemhem, , with Isis, and Horus, and the mummied figure, , armed with , and, , who keep guard over the three houses of Rā, each of which is protected by a serpent god standing upon its tail and emitting fire from its mouth.

  1. The first house is called Ḥet-ṭua-Rā , and has for its symbol , and the sign ;
  2. the second is called Ḥet-stau-Kher-āḥa-Rā, , and has for its symbol, ;
  3. and the third is called Ḥet-ṭemṭet-Rā, , and has for its symbol, , the head of a man.

On the left hand side of the boat of the Sun-god are two gods whose names are wanting,

  1. Ȧḥi, ,
  2. Netch-ȧtef, ,
  3. Ānkh-ḥrȧ, ,
  4. Meṭ-ḥrȧ, (Sepṭ-ḥrȧ ?),
  5. Netch-pautti, ;
  6. the goddesses Ȧntheth, ,
  7. Ḥenḥenith, ,
  8. Ḥemt, ,
  9. and Seḥith, ;

and the monster serpent Ām-khu, , which bears on its back the heads of the four Children of Horus,

  1. Mesthȧ,
  2. Ḥāpi,
  3. Ṭuamutef, and
  4. Qebḥsennuf.

The duty of this serpent is to devour the shadows and the spirits of the enemies of Rā, who are overthrown in the Ṭuat.

The monster is followed by the four earthly forms of Osiris,

  1. Ḳai, ,
  2. Meni-reṭ, ,
  3. Enen-reṭui, ,
  4. and Urṭ, ,

and nine fire-spitting serpents armed with knives, which are

  1. Ta-thenen, ,
  2. Tem,
  3. Kheperȧ,
  4. Shu,
  5. Seb,
  6. Osiris,
  7. Horus,
  8. Ȧpu, ,
  9. and Hetepui, .

The duty of these gods consisted in destroying the enemies of Kheperȧ, and in cutting up their shadows; they lived in Nu and in the water of Ta-thenen, and Kheperȧ by means of his magical power daily made them to breathe through the word of Rā.


Seventh Hour of the Night

image right: The Seventh Hour of the Night.

The Seventh Hour, which is called Khesef-hȧa-ḥeseq-Neḥa-ḥrȧ,[32] takes us into the region of the Ṭuat which contains the hidden abode of the god Osiris.

The descriptive text says,

“When the majesty of this great god arriveth in the hidden abode (Tepḥet) of Osiris, he addresseth to the gods who are there [suitable] words. This god maketh to himself other forms for this hidden abode, so that he may turn back the way for Āpep by means of the magical words of Isis, and the magical words of Ser,.

The name of the pylon of this city through which the god journeyeth is ‘Gate of Osiris’ (); and the name of the city is Tepḥet-shetat (). This great god passeth over the hidden way of Ȧmentet in his boat which is endowed with magical powers, and he journeyeth over it when there is no stream in it, and when there are none to tow him.

He performeth this by means of the words of power of Isis and of Ser, and by means of the mighty words of power which proceed from his own mouth, and in this region of the Ṭuat he inflicteth with the knife wounds upon Āpep, whose place is in heaven.”

The man who shall make a picture of the things which are to the north of the hidden house of the Ṭuat shall find it of great benefit to him both in heaven and on earth ; and he who knows it shall be among the spirits near Rā, and he who recites the words of Isis and Ser shall repulse Āpep in ȧmentet, and he shall have a place on the boat of Rā both in heaven and upon earth. The man who knows not this picture shall never be able to repulse the serpent Neḥa-ḥrȧ.

The text continues,

“The shallows of the land of Neḥa-ḥrȧ are 450 cubits long, and it is filled with his folds, but over one portion thereof this great god journeyeth not when he travelleth to the hidden abode of Osiris, for he journeyeth through this city under the form of the god Meḥen, () .

Neḥa-ḥrȧ shall never drink the water of him that knoweth this, and the soul which knoweth it shall never be given over to the violence of the gods who are in this Circle ; and the crocodile Āb-she () shall never eat the soul of him that knoweth it.”

From what is said above we see that the boat of Rā has arrived at a shallow place in the celestial stream where there is not enough water to float the boat, or even to allow it to be towed ; moreover, the serpent Neḥa-ḥrȧ opposes the advance of the god. In this difficulty Isis, the great enchantress, enters the boat, and standing in the bows utters the words which make it proceed on its way.

image right: The Seventh Hour of the Night.

Neḥa-ḥrȧ, as we see from the illustrated edition of the hour, is seized by Serqet and Ḥer-ṭesu-f, , and held in bonds, and is transfixed to the ground by six knives ; thus Rā, with the serpent Meḥen over him in the form of a canopy, moves on without let or hindrance. Behind the monster serpent stand four goddesses, each armed with a huge knife, whose duty it is to guard the tombs of the four forms of Osiris ; the names of the four goddesses are :—




and Ḥetemitet,.

Their duty was to drive away the enemies of Rā, and to hack in pieces with their awful knives the fiend Āpep every day. The four tombs of Osiris are rectangular buildings, and inside each is a bed or small mound of sand whereunder lie the dead souls of the god, which are known by the names Tern, Kheperȧ, Rā, and Osiris. At each end of each tomb is a human head, which is said to come forth from the tombs whenever it hears the voice of Rā, and after he has passed “they eat their own forms,” i.e., the heads disappear from sight.

It was, no doubt, a custom in predynastic times to slay slaves at the graves of kings and nobles, just as in many parts of the world it has been the custom to kill human beings and to lay their bodies beneath the foundations of buildings which were to be erected in order that the souls of the slaughtered might protect them and keep away evil spirits. The human heads on the tombs of Osiris probably represent a tradition that, when Osiris was buried, human sacrifices were offered at his tomb for this or for some similar purpose.[33]

This view has been well discussed by M. Lefébure, who has done so much to illustrate the religious and funeral customs of the ancient Egyptians,[34] and some allusion to it is probably made by Horapollo,[35] who says that when they wanted to represent φυλακτήριον they were wont to draw two human heads, one male and the other female, that of the male looking inwards, and that of the female outwards. These heads would keep away the attack of any evil spirit, even if no inscription was placed with them.

image right: The Seventh Hour of the Night.

The other illustrations of this hour show us the god Ȧf-Asȧr,  , i.e., “Flesh of Osiris,” seated under a canopy made by the body of a form of the serpent Meḥen called Ānkh-ȧru-tchefau, , with the human-headed serpent Ānkhtith, , and the lion-headed goddess Ḥekenth, , behind him; a little further behind is the god Shepes, , a form of Thoth.

Before the god kneel three figures, whose heads have been cut off by a cat-headed god, and lying on the ground are three beings who have been fettered by the god Ȧnku, , these represent the enemies of Osiris whose souls have been plucked out, and whose shadows have been hacked in pieces because they rebelled against the lord of the Ṭuat. Before these are three human-headed hawks wearing double crowns, and they represent the souls of the “living;” and on a serpent near is seated on a throne the god Ȧf-Tem, , i.e., “Flesh of Tem.”

image right: The Seventh Hour of the Night.

Among the other gods in this hour is “Horus on his throne,” and before him are a company of gods who have been joined to their stars, and the goddesses of the twelve hours. Facing these companies is the crocodile Āb-shā-ȧm-Ṭuat,”  , who acts as guardian of the tomb of Osiris and of what is in it.

When Rā passes by the crocodile, which is described as “Osiris, the Eye of Rā,” this beast is fascinated and made helpless by the words so long as the god is speaking to him, and the dead Osiris, who is in the ground under the crocodile, puts up his head that he also may look at the Sun-god ; the followers of Osiris also seize the opportunity of gazing upon Rā, and do so without risk of being devoured by the monster which is temporarily enchanted.


Eighth Hour of the Night

image right: The Eight Hour of the Night.

The Eighth Hour, which is called Nebt Ushau,[36] brings us into a very interesting division of the Ṭuat; the name of its pylonis Āḥā-en-urṭ-nef, , and the name of the city is Ṭebat-neteru-s, . Rā passes through this division in his boat under the protection of Meḥen, and its gods tow him at the command of this mighty snake ; he sees all the gods in their various Circles, and those “who are on their sand,” and he addresses words to them.

They come out of their secret abodes when the god passes by, and the doors thereof open of their own accord. In this Hour only gods and spirits who have been mummified and buried with appropriate rites are to be found, and, though dead, they quickly come to life again at the words of Rā, who exhorts them to put an end to all the enemies of his who are to be found in that region.

image right: The Eight Hour of the Night.

The illustrated edition of the Hour shows us the boat of the god being towed along, and in front of it are nine large signs, the forms of which are based upon the hieroglyphic character Shesu or shemsu, i,e., “follower” or “servant.” From the top of seven of these is suspended a human head, which shows that we are actually dealing with beings who are in the following of Osiris, and before each is the hieroglyphic for “linen,”.

These nine remarkable objects represent beings who have been mummified in the manner prescribed by Horus, and who are suitably provided with funeral bandages; they are described as beings whose whole life is in their heads, and when Rā calls to them by their names they immediately seize his enemies everywhere and cut off their heads with their knives.

Before these are the four forms of the god Ṭa-thenen,, which are depicted as rams and are

  1. described as
  2. “form one,” ,
  3. “form two,” ,
  4. “form three,” ,
  5. and “form four,” .

image right: The Eighth Hour of the Night.

On each side of the way by which Rā journeys are five Circles.

1) The door of the first Circle, Sesheta, is called Ṭes-neb-ṭerer. . . . , and shuts in the images of Tem, Kheperȧ, and Shu ; when Rā speaks to them they answer in a voice which resembles the humming of bees.

2) The door of the second Circle,  Ṭuat, , is called Ṭes-āḥā-Ta-thenen, , and shuts in the images of Tefnut, Seb, and Nut; when Rā speaks to them they answer in a voice which resembles that of weeping women.

3) The door of the third Circle, Ȧs-neteru, , is called Ṭes-khem-baiu, , and shuts in the images of Osiris, Isis, and Horus ; when Rā speaks to them they answer in a voice which resembles that of men who moan.

4) The door of the fourth Circle, Ȧaḳebi, , is called Ṭes-sheta-em-theḥen-neteru, , and shuts in the images of Ka-Ȧmentet, , Ba-neteru, , and Rem-neteru, ; when Rā speaks to them they answer in a voice which is like that of bulls and men when they make lamentation.

5) The door of the fifth Circle, Nebt-semu-nefu, , is called Ṭes-sma-kekui, , and shuts in the images of Khatri, , and Ȧrānbfi, ; when Rā speaks to them they answer in a voice which is like unto that of him that maketh supplication in terror. These five Circles are shut in by a door called Ṭes-khaibit-ṭuatiu, .

6) The door of the sixth Circle is called Ṭes-ermen-ta, and shuts in some divine beings whose attributes are not yet all clearly defined; when Rā speaks to them they answer in a voice which is like that of male cats when they mew.

7) The door of the seventh Circle, Ḥetemet-khemiu, , is called Ṭes-Rā-khefti-f,  , and shuts in Nut, Ta, and Sebeq-ḥrȧ, ; when Rā speaks to them they answer in a voice which is like the roar of the living.

8) The door of the eighth Circle, Ḥap-semu-s, , is called Ṭes-sekhem-ȧru,  , and shuts in four gods;[37] when Rā speaks to them they answer in a voice which is like the shouts of war heard in the battle of Nu.

9) The door of the ninth Circle, Seḥert-baiu-s, , is called Ṭes-sepṭ-nestu,  , and shuts in four gods;[38] when Rā speaks to them they answer in a voice which is like that of the cry of the divine hawk of Horus.

10) The door of the tenth Circle, Āāt-setekau, , is called Ṭes-khu,  , and shuts in four gods in the form of uraei who rest upon; when Ra speaks to them they answer in a voice which is like the twittering and chattering of water-fowl on a lake. The last five Circles are shut in by a door called Ṭes-am-mit-em-sheta-f,.


Ninth Hour of the Night

image right: The Ninth Hour of the Night

The Ninth Hour, which is called Ṭuatet-māket-neb-s,[39] brings us into a country which is called the “hidden Circle of Ȧmentet”; the name of the city is Bes-ȧru,,[40] and the name of its pylon is Sa-Aḳeb, .

“When the great god arriveth in this Circle he addresseth from his boat the gods who are therein, and the sailors who are in his boat are content with this city.”

The man who shall make a copy of the scenes of this Hour, and shall know the names of the gods and their places in Ȧmentet shall attain to a position in Ȧmentet, and he shall stand up in the presence of the lord of affairs and shall enjoy the power of making what he says to come to pass with the divine assessors, , on the day of reckoning up accounts by Per-āa (Pharaoh).

image right: The Ninth Hour of the Night

The illustrated edition of this Hour shows us the boat of the god travelling on as before, and in front of it are twelve divine rowers, each with his paddle; among these are

  1. Khenu, ,
  2. Ȧkhem-sek-f, ,
  3. Ȧkhem-urṭ-f, ,
  4. Ȧkhem-ḥemi-f, ,
  5. Ȧkhem-khemes-f, ,
  6. Khen-unnut-f, ,
  7. Ḥāpti-ta-f, ,
  8. Ḥetep-uȧa, ,
  9. Neter-neteru, .
  10. Tcha-Ṭuat, ,
  11. and Ṭepi, .

The duty of these sailors is not only to row, but also to throw water with their paddles upon the spirits who stand on each bank of the river whereon the god sails, and they have to lead the soul of Rā to the place where he will reanimate the disk.

Before these sailors, resting on baskets, are the three gods who give abundant offerings,

  1. Muti-khenti-Ṭuat,,
  2. Nesti-khenti-Ṭuat,,
  3. and Nebt-āu-khent-Ṭuat,.

On the right the boat of Rā passes twelve gods, each seated on, and twelve goddesses ; these last are said to breathe after he has saluted them, and after they have heard his voice, and their duty is to utter words of power wherewith they are to surround the hidden soul, and thereby to cause life and strength to rise up in Osiris.

The names of these are :—

  1. Nehata, ,
  2. Ṭeba, ,
  3. Ariti, ,
  4. Menkhet, ,
  5. Hebs, ,
  6. Nebti, ,
  7. Ȧsti-neter, ,
  8. Ȧsti-paut, ,
  9. Ḥetemet-khu, ,
  10. Neb-pāt, ,
  11. Ṭemṭu, ,
  12. Men-ā, ,
  13. Perit, ,
  14. Shemat-khu, ,
  15. Nebt-shāt, ,
  16. Nebt-shef-shefet, ,
  17. Ȧat-ȧaṭet, ,
  18. Nebt-seṭau, ,
  19. Ḥent-nut-s, ,
  20. Nebt-mȧt, ,
  21. Ṭesert-ȧnt, ,
  22. Āat-khu, ,
  23. Sekhet-meṭu, ,
  24. Netert-en-khentet-Rā, .

On the left are twelve uraei, each of whom rests on, and sends out fire through his mouth ; they are said to kindle the fire for the god who is in the Ṭuat with the fire which is in their mouths, and when the god has passed on his way they eat up the fire which they poured forth before Rā went by. The object of the fire was, of course, to show light on his path.

Before these uraei come the nine gods of cultivation and of husbandry, who are under the direction of a god in mummified form; these nine are the sehhtiu,, or “field-labourers,” of the god Ḥer-she-ṭuati,, their leader, and they perforin all the works connected with the ploughing and watering of the fields


Tenth Hour of the Night

image right: The Tenth Hour of the Night.

The Tenth Hour, which is called Ṭenṭit-uḥesqet-khaṭ-ȧb,[41] brings Rā in his boat to the city called Metchet-qat-uṭebu, , with its pylon called Āa-kheperu-mes-ȧru, .

The boat of the sun travels on as before, but Rā again holds a serpent in his hand after the manner of a staff. Immediately in front is the serpent Thes-ḥrȧu,, with a head at each end of his body ; on one head is the white crown, and on the other the red crown ; he has two pairs of human legs, one pair turned towards the right, and the other pair towards the left.

His body is bent in the form of a pair of horns, and in the curve stands Khent-Ḥeru,, in the form of a black hawk ; on the left is the goddess of the north, Neith, with her two bows,, and on the right is the goddess Ḥert-ermen, . Next comes a boat containing the serpent Ānkh-ta, and before it are three groups, each containing four gods.

The gods of the first group have solar disks for heads, and are armed with arrows, and are called

  1. Ṭeptherȧ, ,
  2. Sheserȧ, ,
  3. Ṭemau, ,
  4. and Uṭu, .

The gods of the second group carry each a javelin, and are called

  1. Setu, ,
  2. Rāu, ,
  3. Khesfu, ,
  4. and Nekenu, ;

and the gods of the third group carry each a bow, and are called

  1. Pesthi, ,
  2. Shemerthi, ,
  3. Ṭhesu, ,
  4. and Khā-ā, .

image right: The Tenth Hour of the Night.

All these gods accompany Rā as he goes towards the east, and they slay all his enemies who live in the darkness, and wreak special vengeance on the serpent Neḥa-ḥrȧ; they escort the god to the very limits of the Hour, and form part of his train in the eastern part of the sky.

The name of the region traversed by Ra in this Hour is Ȧḳert, . As the boat of Rā passes the god sees the “living beetle,” , born in the presence of the god P-ānkhi, , and sees how he pushes before him his zone,.

Next we have the two serpents, Menenui,, standing on their tails, and holding on their bent necks a solar disk ; and two seated personifications of the South and North ; and the two goddesses, Netheth, , and Kenȧt,, one of whom supports the hatchet, and the other the solar disk, which rests upon it,.

From the serpents go forth two goddesses, those of the East and West; and from the axe, called Sefṭit,, go forth the goddesses of the East and West also ; i.e., these goddesses are the souls of the serpents and of the axe, which come forth to look upon the Sun-god, and as soon as he has passed they return into their material bodies.

Next Rā sees eight[42] goddesses advancing to a seated dogheaded god, who presents to them the Eye of Horus,, and their duty is to see that it is in good condition, and to take care of it and protect it, so that it may shine daily.

Besides these there come the eight gods called

  1. Ermenui,,
  2. Neb-āqet,,
  3. Ṭua-khu,,
  4. Ḥer-she-taiu,,
  5. Sem-Ḥeru,,
  6. Ṭua-Ḥeru,,
  7. Khenti-ȧst-f,,
  8. and Khenti-ment,;

the duty of these gods, who lived by the breath of the great god, was to wreck the bodies and scatter the swathings of the enemies of Rā. On his left hand Rā passed in his journey through this Hour Horus, and twelve beings who dive and swim and perform evolutions in tanks of water.

These are said to beat the water in their attempts to recover their breath, and Rā calls upon them to fill themselves with the water of the celestial Nile, and promises that their members shall not suffer corruption, and that their bodies shall not perish ; he decrees that they shall be masters of their own arms in their water because they are the denizens of Nu, and that their souls shall live.

Beyond these are four goddesses, each with a serpent hanging down her back with its head above her own, and with them is a standard surmounted by the head of Set,. This god was the guardian of the Tenth Hour, and when Rā was about to pass from it into the eastern part of the sky, Set was believed to rouse himself and to make the journey with him. The four goddesses “who lived by their heads,” shed light on the path of Rā.


Eleventh Hour of the Night

image right: The Eleventh Hour of the Night.

The Eleventh Hour, which is called Sebuit-nebt-uȧa-khesfet-sebȧu-em-pert-f,[43] brings us to a city called Re-qerert-ȧpt-khaṭ,, with a pylon bearing the name of Sekhen-ṭuatiu,; the object of the texts and the illustrations which accompany it was to enable the spirits of the dead to become participators with the gods, and to provide them with such things as were necessary for their equipment both in heaven and upon earth.

Rā stands as usual in his boat, but he has changed the serpent which he held in his hand as a sceptre for the ordinary sceptre,, and on the bows of the boat we see a solar disk, surrounded bya serpent; the name of this disk isor, Pesṭu or Pesṭet, and it is probably connected with some well-known star which rose heliacally at certain seasons of the year.

The duty of the disk was to guide the boat of the great god along the paths which led to that part of the Ṭuat, at the end of the Eleventh Hour, where the darkness faded away ; the texts call the darkness at this point keku ḳesḳu,, i.e., the opposite of the keku samui,, or the thick, solid darkness which filled the greater part of the Ṭuat.

Before the boat of Rā are twelve gods, who carry upon their heads the serpent Mehen to the eastern part of the sky; their names are:—

  1. Fa,,
  2. Ermenu, ,
  3. Athpi,,
  4. Neṭru,,
  5. Shepu,,
  6. Reṭā,,
  7. Amu,.
  8. Ama,,
  9. Sheṭu, ,
  10. Sekhenu,,
  11. Semsem,,
  12. and Meḥni,.

Before these are :—

  1. A uraeus wearing the crown of the North and a human head ; and,
  2. A uraeus from the back of which emerges the white crown, with a human head on each side of it.

The first of these is called Sem-shet, , and the second Sem-Nebt-ḥet, ; the human heads on the white crown only come forth when Rā is passing by, and when he has departed they disappear.

Next we have figures of the four forms of the goddess Neith, two of them wearing the white crown, and two the red ; they are called Neith the fecundator, , in allusion to the belief that this goddess begat herself, Neith of the red crown, , Neith of the white crown, , and Neith the child,; these goddesses came into being as soon as they heard the voice of Rā, and their duty was to guard the gate of Saïs,, the unknown, the unseen, the invisible,.

This Circle of the Ṭuat through which the god travels to appear in the mountain of the sunrise contains many wonderful beings, and it is said to

“swallow always the forms therein in the presence of the god who knoweth,, who is in this city, and afterwards it giveth them for the births of those who are to come into being on this earth.”

Among these are:—

A god with the solar disk for a head ; from it project two human heads, one wearing , and the other . He is called Āper-ḥrȧ-neb-tchetta, , and stands facing a god having two heads, but without crowns, whose name is Ṭepui, . In the space between we see a serpent provided with a pair of wings and four human legs and feet, facing the serpent Sheṭu, , upon the back of which is seated a god ; the heads of both serpents are among a number of stars.

Standing by the side of the winged serpent, which is called Tchet-s, , is a god called Petrȧ, , with his arms stretched out in such a way as to keep the wings wide apart; he has on his head a disk, and his neck is between the double Utchat, .

image right: The Eleventh Hour of the Night.

The descriptive text says that the god with a disk and two heads is “he who stands,, by Rā,”[44] and that he never leaves his place in the Ṭuat. The god who stands by the winged serpent is Temu, who springs out of the reptile’s back when Rā addresses it; but as soon as the words cease Temu disappears into the serpent.

The second serpent is the constellation Sheṭu, i.e., the Tortoise, and its soul appears in human form on its back as soon as Rā addresses it, but when the words have ceased like Temu it disappears into its body. The duty of Sheṭu was to “emit life for Rā every day.”

Before these march Khnemu and ten gods, five of whom have no arms ; from the neck of one of these project the heads of two serpents.[45] From the descriptive text we learn that the souls of these gods lived on the hidden light of Rā ; that the breath of his mouth gave them life, and that their souls fed upon the provisions which were stored in his boat; their chief duty was to be with and in attendance upon the god.

Besides these gods we also have in this Hour four goddesses, each of whom sits upon the bodies of two uraei, which are bent upwards in such a way as to form a seat; the heads of each pair of uraei are reared up in front of the knees of the goddess, who is sitting on their backs, and whose feet rest upon their necks.

Each goddess has her right hand raised as if to hide her face, and with her left she grasps the body of one of the uraei. It is possible that the uraei are only four in number, and that they are two-headed; the goddesses are called Nebt-ānkhiu,. Nebt-khu,, Nert,, and Ḥent (?)-neteru,.

The descriptive text says that the arms of these beings are on earth, and their feet in the thick darkness, and as long as the god is speaking to them they utter cries and acclaim him ; they never move from their places, and their souls live upon the voices of the uraei which go forth from their feet daily.

When the shadows depart the winds which arise in the Tu at are diverted from the faces of the four goddesses by their hands, which they hold up. In this statement we seem to have an allusion to the keen, fresh wind of dawn with which all travellers in the desert are well acquainted, and which usually blows about one hour before sunrise.

In the region on the left hand side of Rā we see how punishment is inflicted upon the enemies of Rā, and in it we have a country of blazing fire. At one end stands Horus with a disk, surrounded by a uraeus, upon his head, holding in his left hand a boomerang, one end of which terminates in the head of a serpent; the idea here suggested is that the weapon held by the god is a real serpent, which when thrown at an enemy will suddenly attach itself to his body after the manner of the vicious uraeus.

The right arm of Horus rests on a staff wherewith the god usually supports himself, and before him rears itself a huge serpent called Set of millions of years,” , the duty of which was to devour any of the enemies of Rā, i.e., the dead, who succeeded in making their escape from the fires of the country of the Eleventh Hour. In front of these were the five awful chambers, or pits in the sky, which were filled with the red-hot materials of blazing fires, and employed to consume the enemies of Rā.

1) The first chamber or pit, Ḥaṭet,, was filled with the bodies of fiends who were dashing out their own brains with axes, , and was under the charge of a lion-headed goddess, called Ḥert-Ketit-s,, who stood by its side and belched fire into it through her mouth ; when the fire had done its work on the wretched creatures they were hacked to pieces by the huge knife which she held in both her hands.

2) The second chamber or pit was also filled with the bodies of fiends, and was under the charge of a woman called Ḥert-Ḥānṭuȧ,, who spat fire upon them and who was armed with a monster knife.

3) The third chamber or pit was filled with the souls,, of the fiends, and was under the charge of a woman called Ḥert-Nekeniṭ,, who spat fire upon them and who was similarly armed.

4) The fourth and fifth chambers, which were under the charge of similar women, called Ḥert-Nemmȧt-set, , and Ḥert-sefu-s, , contained the shadows, , and heads, , of the damned. Passing by these chambers we come to the “Valley of those who are cast down headlong,” , which is represented by a large hollow wherein four men are standing on their heads, ; next to this are four goddesses of the desert, each of whom has upon her head the emblem of desert; their names are

  1. Pesi, ,
  2. Rekḥit, ,
  3. Ḥer-shā-s, ,
  4. and Sait, .

Each name has a meaning something like “fiery,” and refers to the goddesses in their character of mistresses of the blazing desert.

Finally, behind these comes the god Ḥer-ut-f,, who was in some way connected with the embalming of the dead. The descriptive text which accompanies these scenes makes the great god Rā command

“his father Osiris to hack in pieces the bodies of the enemies and of the dead who are cast down headlong.”

Then, addressing the enemies themselves, he tells them that when his father Osiris hath smitten them for destruction, and hath cut in pieces their spirits and souls, and hath rent asunder their shadows, and hath cut off their heads in such a way that existence in the future will be impossible for them, they will be cast down headlong into burning furnaces from which there is neither escape nor deliverance, and Set the everlasting snake will drive his flames against them, and the Lady of furnaces, and the Lady of fiery pits, and the Lady of slaughtering blocks, and the Lady of swords, will drive against them the flames which come forth from their mouths, that they will hack them in pieces in such wise that the wretched beings will never again see those who live upon the earth.

The slaughter of the enemies is ordered to be performed by Horus, the god of those who are in the Ṭuat, and it is curious to note that the gods his companions are said to live upon the voices of the enemies who are slain, and on the shrieks and cries of the souls and shadows which are cast down into the blazing, fiery pits.


Twelfth Hour of the Night

The Twelfth Hour, Maa-nefert-Rā,[46] brings the god Rā into the Circle which is on the confines of thick darkness, and to a city called Khepert-kekui-khāāt-mest, , with its pylon called Then-neteru, . In this region the god is born under the form of Kheperȧ, , and Nu, , and Nut,, Hehu, , and Hehut, , come into the Circle when he is born, and when he goeth forth from the Ṭuat and resteth in the Mānṭit, , boat, and when he riseth on the body[47]of Nut.

Rā journeys in his boat, as before, but the solar disk which was at the bows in the Eleventh Hour is no longer there, and its place is occupied by the beetle of Kheperȧ, the forerunner of the rising sun.[48] Twelve gods tow the boat, not over a river or over the back of a serpent or serpents, but completely through a serpent; in front the tow-rope is held by the hands of twelve women. This serpent is called Ka-en-Ānkh-neteru,, i.e., “the life of the gods,” and the gods who draw Ȧf, that is to say, Rā, through it are his “loyal servants,”, Ȧmhhiu.

The boat enters the serpent at his tail in deep darkness, and passing through his body emerges through the mouth into the light of day; the god in his boat enters the snake in the form of a dead, old Sun-god, and he comes forth not only alive, but made young again, and appears in the sky under the form of Kheperȧ. The “loyal servants” of Rā are the souls of the blessed which have been so fortunate as to obtain admission into his boat; they were his devout adorers when upon earth, and the reward which they obtain for their fidelity is renewed youth and a new birth upon the earth.

What they are to do upon earth is not made clear, but it is evident that they cannot remain there for an indefinite period, for since their master needs to be re-born daily they also must need re-birth each day. It is doubtful, if we judge by some passages, if they came to the earth at all, and it is far more likely that their enjoyment consisted in journeying about at will through the sky and looking down from some portion of it upon the scenes of their old life than in making hurried visits to the earth daily.

When the boat of Rā has passed through the serpent the twelve women or goddesses, mentioned above, take the rope from the gods and haul it on to the paths of the sky.

The god is accompanied through the Twelfth Hour by:—

  1. 1. Twelve goddesses, each bearing a serpent on her head and shoulders, and
  2. 2. Twelve gods, or men, with their hands raised in adoration ; all these are on the right hand side.

Each deity has a name, which is written in front of his or her figure. The uraei of the goddesses are said to proceed from them, and the flames which drive- away Āpep come forth from their mouths. The goddesses travel with the god until he rises on this earth, but after this they return to their places. The duty of the twelve gods is to praise Rā.

On the left of the boat we have the gods

  1. Nu,,
  2. Nuth,,
  3. Ḥeḥu,,
  4. Ḥeḥut,;

these gods are “in their own bodies,”, and they go to Rā in heaven, to receive this great god as he cometh forth to them in the eastern part of heaven daily. They live in their ārrit i.e., hall of the horizon, but their forms,, of the Ṭuat belong to this Circle.

Next we have two human-headed gods,

  1. a bird-headed god called Nehui,,
  2. a god with two birds’ heads called Ni,,
  3. the serpent Nesmekhef,,
  4. and four human-headed gods;

all these carry paddles on their right shoulders. The duty of the gods is to raise up,, the disk of the sun daily, but the serpent Nesmekhef slaughters the enemies of Rā ; they travel with Rā and receive their spirits,, in this Circle. Before these are ten gods, with hands raised in adoration,[49] who are described as the ḥentiu,, of the forms of Osiris, the Governor of the thick darkness,, and they say to him,

“Live, thou Governor of thy darkness ! Live, O thou who art great in all things ! Live, O thou Prince of Ȧmentet, Osiris, thou Governor of those who are in Ȧmenti! Mayest thou live, mayest thou live, O thou who art Governor of the Ṭuat, the wind of Rā is to thy nostrils, the breath of Kheperȧ is with thee, thou livest and they live. Hail, Osiris, lord of the living ones ; the gods who are with Osiris are those who were with him at the first time,” etc.


Osiris, Governor Of Ȧmenti

The allusion here is to the death and burial of Osiris, when Horus carried out the arrangements which had to be made for the performance of the general ceremonies, and when every detail connected with mummification, etc., was thought out by the loving care of the son of Osiris.

In the illustrated version of the Twelfth Hour, published by Signor Lanzone (tav. vii.), we have represented the semi-circular wall of thick darkness which forms the end of the Ṭuat and the division between it and this world. Against this wall, in the lower part of it, lies a mummied form, representing Osiris, and called Sem-Ȧf,, i.e., the “Image (or Form) of Ȧf” ; this is the object of the praises which the last two groups of gods lavish upon him.

The descriptive text says concerning the mummy,

“He who is in this picture in the hidden form of Horus of thick darkness is the secret image which Shu makes to be under Nut, and which cometh forth from Ḳeb-ur on earth in this form.”[50]

In the middle of the wall of thick darkness is a red disk, from which proceeds a human head; this is the “image of Shu,” , who extends his arms along the vaulted wall, and of whose body one part is in the Ṭuat and the other in this world. Immediately above the head of the god is the beetle of Kheperȧ, here spelt, which makes its way into this world through the opening which the head and shoulders of Shụ have made in the wall of thick darkness. Through this opening the boat of Rā also was enabled to pass into this world, and the god continued his journey (with the help of the deities who towed him along; there is no doubt about this because the tow-line is prolonged to the wall of thick darkness. As Ȧf, the dead body of Rā, passes into our world, his new life begins, and for men and women the night passes away, and a new day is born.


The Sun's New Birth

We have now traced the passage of the Sun-god through the Ṭuat as it was imagined by those who believed in the absolute supremacy of Osiris, and as it was described by the author of the Book of Pylons, and we have briefly passed through its divisions as described in the Book op that which is in the Ṭuat, throughout which the absolute supremacy of Rā is maintained. It is now easy to see that these two works represent two opposite and conflicting theories as to the future life.

The heaven of the devotees of Osiris was originally most materialistic, and the life which was led in it by the beatified was, to all intents and purposes, merely a continuation of the life led by men and women upon earth ; the heaven of the priests of Rā was of a more refined character, and it lacked the grosser characteristics of the dwellers in the Elysian Fields of Osiris.

Some have argued from the facts about the Ṭuat given above that the Egyptians believed in the existence of purgatory, and in the everlasting punishment of the wicked in a hell of fire, and in the reincarnation of souls, and in many other things which would presuppose the holding by them of doctrines which are commonly thought to be the products of the minds of modern nations ; but the facts do not support these beliefs. Whichever doctrine of the future life we take, whether that of Osiris or that of Rā, we find no room in it for a purgatory.

In the Judgment which took place before Osiris only the righteous were permitted to enter into the Elysian Fields, and the wicked were destroyed immediately ; in other words, annihilation was the punishment for sin.

The Egyptians believed largely in the efficacy of works, and in addition to the deeds of love and charity which they performed in all periods, strict care concerning the ceremonies of religion, worship, and of the funeral, and a proper respect and reverence for words of power, and amulets, and sacred writings, and figures were demanded from them by priests and religious teachers at all times.

There was, of course, a large class of people who could not afford costly burials, and who were too poor to buy even cheap amulets, but they were not condemned in the Judgment because of their poverty; on the contrary, they escaped annihilation and were admitted by Osiris into the first division of the Ṭuat, where, however, they were compelled to stay because they did not know the words of power which would enable them to continue their journey through the remaining divisions of the Underworld.

But there was no punishment inflicted upon them because they had been both poor and ignorant in this world ; they merely remained in the place to which their religious qualifications enabled them to attain, and each evening, or each night, they were made glad by the sight of the great god Rā as he sailed through the Ṭuat in his boat, and they rejoiced in his daily visit.


Destruction of the Wicked

The beings in the Ṭuat of Osiris upon whom punishment was inflicted were the “enemies of Osiris,” and these were usually the “enemies of Rā” ; but in no text is it said that the punishment which they had to endure there ever obliterated their guilt, whatever it might be, or that when the proper time had arrived they would be allowed to proceed into another division of the Ṭuat where their punishment would be lighter, or where they would undergo none at all.

Though a man could earn happiness in the realm of Osiris or in that of Rā by his good works on earth, and by ceremonies performed at his funeral by duly qualified priests, and by the presence of copies of religious texts which were buried with him, there is no reason to think that when once his soul reached the Underworld it could ever better its position there either by suffering punishment or by the performance of good works.


Offerings to the Dead

The offerings made at the tombs of the dead were for the benefit of the ka or double, and perhaps for the animal soul which was at one time believed to exist in the human body, but neither the offerings nor the prayers which accompanied them seem to have been able to remove the spirits and souls of the dead from one division of the Ṭuat into another, or to modify the state or condition which had been decreed for them.

Similarly, there is no evidence that prayers for the dead or offerings would ameliorate the condition of those who had successfully passed the ordeal of the Judgment, and had been sent by Osiris into one or other of the habitations of his kingdom.

Footnotes and references:


See Eisenmenger, “Was die Juden von der Höllen lehren” (Entdecktes Judenthum, tom. ii., p. 322 ff.


St. Luke xvi. 26.


See Ḳurʻan, Sura vii.


See my Chapters of Coming Forth By Day (Text), p. 334 ff.


See Bonomi and Sharpe, The alabaster Sarcophagus of Oimenephtah I., King of Egypt, London, 1864.


Le Livre de ce qu’il y a dans l’Hades, Paris, 1894, p. 13.


Bonomi and Sharpe, op. cit., pll. 5 and 4.


See Records of the Past, vol. x., p. 85 ff.






See British Museum, No. 32,650.


The scene of the Seventh Division is so mutilated on the sarcophagus of Seti I. that it is not reproduced here.


Bonomi and sharpe, op. cit., pl.10.








See Sharpe, Egyptian Inscriptions, 1st series, pll. 28-32 ; 2nd series, pll. 1-21 ; Pierret, Recueil, tom. v., pp. 103 ff; Lanzone, Domicile des Esprits, Paris, 1879; Birch, Papyrus of Naskhem, London, 1S63 ; Mariette, Papyrus Égyptiens, tom. ii., Cairo, 1878.


See “Le Tombeau de Seti Ier,” in Mémoires de la Miss. Arch. Française, Paris, 1886 ; First Hour, part iv., pll. 24-26 : Second Hour, part iv., pll. 29-32 ; Third Hour, part iv., pll. 32-35 ; Fourth Hour, part i., pll. 23-25 ; Fifth Hour, part i., pll. 26-29 ; Sixth Hour, part iv., pll. 39-42 ; Seventh Hour, part iv., pll. 43-46 ; Eighth Hour, part iv., pll. 47-49 ; Ninth Hour, part ii., pll. 15-18 ; Tenth Hour, part ii., pll. 19-22 ; Eleventh Hour, part ii., pll. 23-26; and see Maspero, Les Hypogées Royaux de Thèbes, p. 29.


See the edition of the hieroglyphic text, with a French translation, by Jéquier, op. cit., pp. 37 ff.




See Jéquier, op. cit., p. 49, note 2.


Les Hypogées, p. 46.



A variant given by Jéquier gives 480 ȧtru as the length, i.e., about sixty miles.


See Maspero, Les Hypogées, p. 64.


. or Urt-sekhemu-s,




Le Livre de ce qu’il y a dans l’Hades





See Maspero, Les Hypogées, p. 104 ; Jéquier, op. cit., p. 94.


Rites Égypttiens, pp. 4 ff., 18 ff.


Φνλακτήριον δὲ γραφειν βονλόμενοι, δύο κεφαλάς ανθρώλων ζωγραφοῦσι, τὴν μὲν τοῦ ἄρσενος ἒσω βχέπονσαν, τὴν δὲ θηχνκὴν ἒξω. ὅυτω γάρ φασιν οὐδὲν τῶν δαιμονίων ἐφαψεται, ἐπειδὴ καὶ χωρὶς γραμμάτων, κ.τ.λ. Hieroglyphica, i. 24.



, Hebset, Senket;, Ṭebat; and Temṭet,.


, Keku ;, Menhi;, Tcher-khu; and , Kħebs-ta.




Some copies add.



I.e., Sekhet, , Menkert, , Ḥunṭheth, , Usit,  , Ābet-neteru-s, ; Ȧritatheth, , Āḥāt, , and Themath, .



M. Maspero speaks of him as the “agathodemon” of Rā.


The names are:—

  1. Khnem-renit, ,
  2. Nerta, ,
  3. Āāiu-f-em-kha-nef, ,
  4. Ȧpt-tani, ,
  5. Mer-en-āāiii-f, ,
  6. Ȧunāāuif, ,
  7. Rest-f, ,
  8. Ṭua-Heru, ,
  9. Maā, ,
  10. Meskhti, ,
  11. and Hepā, .




, a word sometimes rendered by vulva, pubis, and flank.


See Lanzone, Domicile des Esprits, pi. v.


  1. Ṭuati, ,
  2. Tes-khu, ,
  3. Themaru, ,
  4. Ȧākhbu, ,
  5. Sekhenu, ,
  6. Ermenn, ,
  7. Khennu, ,
  8. Bunāu, ,
  9. Āuru, ,
  10. Ȧthep, ,
  11. and Ȧm. . . . . . . ,


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