The Tenth Hour.

The Book of the Hidden Chamber [Amduat]

The upper register shows the cure and protection of the solar eyes. These eyes are marked in red and are cared for by two goddesses. Beside this imagery, we find eight Sekhmet deities (four with human heads) and eight images of Djehuty in monkey-form, holding the restored eye within his hand.

The middle register shows twelve guardians of the solar god who protect him from his enemies. The first four guardians carry an arrow, the next four carry a spear, and the final group of four are shown carrying a bow. The texts indicate that they accompany the Sungod throughout the entire twelve hour journey of the night and during the twelve hours of the day.

The lowest register shows the regenerating water of the Nun. This region is known as “with deep water and high banks”. There are bodies within this watery rectangle floating in various positions until Horus assists them with coming ashore. He prevents them from decomposing although these deceased beings were not provided a standard burial. They share the same fate as Osiris.

Here we have the consoling part of the Amduat, that even those who – by a natural accident – do not have the benefit of ritual preparation for the afterlife are preserved by the divine intervention of Horus.

The Book of Gates

The central imagery of the Tenth Hour shows the battle between A/pep and the gods who fight against it. Fourteen deities hold nets within their grasp, lifted above their heads. Within the nets are magical power and lifting these nets seems to render A/pep immobile and defenseless. A single god, known as the Old One and possibly signifying Geb, ties A/pep up.

The register above and below this central scene show special forms of the sun god’s various manifestations. He appears as a griffin in the upper register, surrounded by two serpent deities who also focus on the attach of A/pep. A single rope connects the figures. The sun god’s form is that of a falcon, though it is referenced as Khepri. “The accompanying text mentions ’emergence’ and stresses that the journey is proceeding towards the sky.” [p. 64, Hornung, The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife.]

The Book of Night

The tenth hour gateway is called “Lady of Fear”. The solar barque is guided through the gateway by a crocodile-headed deity, who is named “Good Fortune of His Mother”. The body parts of Nut that are related to this hour are the vulva, for this is when the rebirth of the new day truly begins.

In the upper register, there are a number of divine beings. One is “The One who Causes Breath”, who knows the secrets of divine utterance. There is also a divine being called “The One who nurtures his Father”. This relates to the Bull of His Mother epithet, meaning that the son has become the father. They have become unified.

When the two are experienced as one, complete and perfect in unity, so the divine nature is realizes whilst traveling onward to the place of dawn and pure light. Such a unity is also recognized in the text of the justified:

Those who adore Re on earth, and those who cense the gods in the Duat, will be in the following of this god.

The lower register shows two identical transfigured or justified ones, wearing the divine beard. These beings have become divine and their mummified bandages have been removed: “Your head-covering has been taken away, your bandages have been undone, and there will be no removal of your bread.” [p 156, Roberts, My Heart, My Mother.] This passage seems to indicate that the mummification process is only needed for the first few hours; once we enter the tenth hour, the soul no longer is necessary for the deceased’s continued existence.

This hour is a place of memory, invoking images of one’s past and name:

During the tenth hour the essence of a person’s existence in experienced in the glorious state of unity reached through the heart. Empowered by memory at this sacred place of birth, the initiate comes to understand the mystery of totality in which all contrasts are subsumed, all opposites dissolved.

Further Reading

  • The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife by Erik Hornung
  • Knowledge for the Afterlife by Theodor Abt and Erik Hornung
  • My Heart, My Mother by Alison Roberts

You’re Toxic.

Alternate Title: The toxic a-holes of the Kemetic community won.

On the first day of the leadership conference, the second panel was a Q&A panel. They do these to break up the 30 – 50 minute talks along with the breaks. The Q&A panels are usually pretty good, but my team and I were especially looking forward to this one because the topic was toxic work environments. After a year of having to deal with just that very thing, we were very interested in what Bozoma Saint John had to say on the topic.

After the session, we could all agree that the panel would have been better if she had been able to speak freely. She would begin to go down a specific rabbit hole related to the topic and the host would gently nudge her back to the primary topic, or force her to go off into other directions when we were interested in what she had to say on what she had just been talking about.

I also really enjoyed her energy. She was… vivacious and she grabbed your attention. As I was taking notes and processing what she had to say, I kind of got the feeling that no matter what Bozoma was talking about, everyone would have been entranced by her subject matter.

The reason she was invited to speak on this particular subject was because Bozoma went to work as the Chief Brand Officer at Uber. She had heard some of the horror stories of what was going on in 2017 for the company, which was having a bit of a bad year. After hearing what was going on over there, she left her position as a marketing executive at Apple Music to go to Uber in the hopes of helping turn the company around.

While I don’t know much about Uber or its current state, it kind of sounds like she wasn’t as successful as she had hoped. It sounds like the toxic environment of the company was all pervasive and while she made some changes, there were more people stuck in their ways than there were people willing to make the change.

power plant

When we think about the culture of a workplace, we start to think that the overall dynamic is created by the HR department or the CEO’s office. But that is a misnomer. The culture of one’s work environment can be found first in your cubicle or work station, and next in the cubicle or work station beside you. The CEO and the people of the HR department are, of course, part of this but it isn’t their rules or regulations that necessarily create a toxic or not-toxic work culture: it is the attitudes of the people that make up the company as a whole.

The problem is that a toxic work environment typically is created because there are multiple people coming at things from a completely different point of view or basis of an idea. Instead of everyone being on the same page about X, Y, Z thing, they all come at it from different directions.

Just like a school of fish, everyone in a work place need to swim in the same direction and together. When you have multiple fish going in a million different directions, it causes chaos. And this in turn will cause issues across the whole school, or in reality, within the work environment.

While competition between coworkers can be healthy as it can promote new ideas and growth, this doesn’t mean that people should be pitted against one another. Worker 1 and Worker 2 who have the exact same title and position would work better together as opposed to working against each other in the hopes of being recognized for one reason or another. They would be able to go further and make the job better for themselves and by extension, for the other people at that work place, if they are allowed to bolster up one another and work together towards a common goal.

Another way to ensure that the work environment is not-toxic is to ensure that you are empowering those who need it. Bolster up coworkers on a bad day, on a good day. Whenever and wherever you see a need for empowerment, give it to them. Work is hard and tiring for everyone more often than not and we need to be willing to bolster up others to promote a healthy and happy work place for everyone.

As the Q&A panel progressed, the hosted asked Bozoma what were three things that can make a work environment better for everyone. Her answer was:

  1. Empathize.
  2. Diversity.
  3. Inclusion.

You have to be willing to empathize with others; not sympathize but to have empathy for your coworkers and the situations that they are in. If you look at a situation and fail to empathize with the person in that situation, you are cutting yourself off from them. This can and will cause work place issues in future, which will only snowball from there.

You have to have diversity within your work environment. Everyone must be invited to your workplace. Whether its an after-work get-together or the workplace itself, diversity helps to promote growth, positive change, and everything else you want to see in the place that you spend at least 40 hours of your life in every week.

You have to be inclusive for everyone. There can be no us vs. them, or me vs. the whole in a workplace. There must be inclusion for everyone. As Bozoma indicated, it’s like going to a school dance and standing on the sidelines, waiting for someone to ask you to dance. You’ll begin to feel badly if you continue to sit it out. You have to join and the other works have to allow you to join in order to make the work environment a good one for all parties.

The last thing that was discussed before the panel came to an end, albeit briefly, was branding. This is something that TTR has already discussed and I won’t be doing the post justice by either summarizing or rehashing it. But the point is that Bozoma indicated that branding is everything – just like TTR’s opening statement on their post – and that branding must also include the internal work culture of the company.

If the company is toxic, but you’re trying to brand it to look like it’s a good placed to work, you’re promoting dissatisfaction and lying to potential employees. Word will get out that this isn’t a good place, no matter what the branding online will tell you, and you’ll lose both potential and current workers. It’s better to ensure that the internal work environment has been cleaned of its toxic veneer in every way possible so that you can be the branding that you’ve put out into the world. This will attract the right type of people for the jobs available and promote growth of the company, which benefits everyone.

Brand

When I was listening to Bozoma discuss toxic culture in the work place, it is little wonder that I first thought of our Kemetic community. We have had a lot of problems in recent years. Some of it is simple growing pains – the more people who say they are a part of the community, the more problems are going to arise because of a variety of things. It’s a people thing. But beyond simple disagreements about how to do something or the way to go about introducing yourself to the gods, there have been Bigger Problems. Our community went toxic as hell and we never really recovered from it.

No matter how hard we try to make a welcoming community, there will always be people who get sucked into the racism problem that is prevalent within various pagan and polytheism communities. And as they slip down that rabbit hole, they change to fit the dynamic that their racist circle requires or desires to see in them. This will continue to happen as long as racism continues to be a problem within our communities.

Sometimes you can educate those people out of those circles, but as we’ve seen in our community with its issues, educating others tends to have them doubling down on their problematic rhetoric because “the loss of privilege often feels like oppression”. There will be people who can learn beyond what they’ve either been raised to believe about racism, or have been re-educated to believe about racism, and there are those who prefer their power and comfort over everything and everyone else.

We must be willing to understand that not everyone is going to be willing to examine themselves and their privilege. And if that is the way that they want to be, then we must do everything we can to police them, to make it difficult for them and their ideas to proliferate in the community. We must be willing to point out their wrong-doings, warn new people away from them, and everything else that we must do to ensure our community doesn’t turn toxic again. We must make it difficult for their shit to continue unabated; we must make them unwelcome and unwilling to continue to gain the foothold they are hoping to have.

The problem is that we all saw warning signs. I know that I did. I know that TTR did. I can remember having private discussions on what to do when we saw concerning behavior begin to manifest in various discussions. When we finally started pointing out the problematic behavior, it seemed to cause more headache than do much because there were so few of us willing to police it.

And I can understand why not everyone was willing to do anything about it. It can take a form of bravery that not everyone has, but part of the problem is that there were so few of us willing to speak up, to speak out. With so few of us willing to stand up and say, “no, this isn’t okay,” it became easy for the problematic people to simply block us. We couldn’t speak up unless we took the time to screenshot shitty behavior.

If a community is what is desired, then everyone has to be willing to think to the three points Bozoma made and do what needs to be done to see it happen:

  • Empathize.

One shouldn’t be capable of empathy for a racist piece of trash. I’m going to throw that gauntlet down now. You can pity them for their misinformation and just generally being wrong, but you should not be able to empathize with them. They have no legs to stand on and therefore, as far as we as a community should be concerned, we cannot and will not attempt to see things from their point of view in any context.

It is more important that the minority members of our community be safe than the privileged and racist few who demand the same sort of “respect” that they see us give others. It is the minority members of our communities who should have our empathy, not the assholes who preach hate either overtly or subversively.

And it is the privileged person’s job, through the empathy we should all have with our minority, to speak over the racist pieces of trash in our community and refuse them a platform to speak from. If that means we get blocked, then so be it. We must make the racists as uncomfortable and unwelcome as humanly possible to ensure that the people who we need and want in our community are safe from that shit.

  • Diversity.

We want to invite everyone – except racists – to the party. Everyone should be able to join us. Whether we agree with all of their ideas about what things are, or how things are defined, we want to extend an invitation to everyone that we want to see in our community. We cannot simply be a white, cisgendered person’s home away from home: everyone should be able to jump into the water and be able to stay. They should all feel comfortable and welcomed.

  • Inclusion.

And in the same vein, we want to ensure that everyone – except racists – feel as if they were invited to the dance. We don’t want anyone to feel like they don’t belong. A newcomer will already feel overwhelmed with all of the resources and 101s that we’ve put out there. We don’t want them to feel like they shouldn’t be willing to post in our tags and be able to get helpful, thoughtful, and kind responses in return.

Thursday - 042210 - Day 61

I know this is long, but for those of us who have stayed with me, thanks.

The community fractured because of the toxic environment it became and it has never recovered. We’ve all seen it.

The content creators are tired of the same old shit and tired of creating. The people who see shitty behavior going on openly in the tags aren’t willing to speak up about it. The new people who joined us after or during the toxic foothold in our community learned to keep quiet and to keep to the shadows, not posting in the shared tags, because it was too easy to get their content derailed by inter-community fighting or policing. The behaviors of the few continue to negatively impact a place that all of us are constantly looking for: a place to call home when it comes to our religious paths.

The toxic assholes won.

Our community broke down and we haven’t done a damn thing to fix it. Some of that is because we’re tired of fighting and policing. Some of that is because life gets in the way and we have things to do. Some of that is because people left, not willing to step a toe into our shitty environment considering the shit that was going on when shit was going down. Some of that is because people are scared to speak up. Some of that is because some people are just selfish.

Whatever the reason, we need to cut the shit and think critically when it comes to our community:

  1. Do you want to be a part of this community?
  2. Are you willing to speak up about concerns you have?
    1. Or. Are you willing to point out problematic behavior or call someone out if the need arises?
    2. Or. If you are worried about calling someone out, are you willing to say something to someone who isn’t worried about calling shit out?
  3. Will you be able to help out the prolific content creators and put things out there?

If you can answer yes to these questions, awesome. Welcome aboard. If you can’t, then maybe it’s better if you go before the going gets rough [again]. This may sound harsh, but if community is what is wanted, it means that you have to put the hard work in and continue to put it in. But everyone has to do their fair share. You can’t rely on the few to do it all; we all have to partake and be willing to do what needs to be done.

Otherwise, there is literally no point in trying.

Related Content

Note: While I am specifically addressing the racism that was prevalent from the toxic shitheads that made our community anathema to many, please note that they also partook in sexist, ableist, and other shitty behaviors. While I may not specifically state that, please know that it is true and that we also must ensure that shit doesn’t get a foothold in our community either.

The Ninth Hour.

The Book of the Hidden Chamber [Amduat]

The central imagery of this hour shows the crew of the solar barque, which are depicted in the middle register of this hour. There are twelve oarsmen shown. In front of them, there are three idols which are in charge of the provisioning of the dead with bread and beer.

The lower register also depicts gods that are associated with the provisioning of the deceased. These gods are the Field Gods and they hold large stalks of grain in their hands. They “cause all the trees and all the plants to be created.” [p 112, Abt & Hornung, Knowedge for the Afterlife.]

Behind the Field Gods, there are fire-spitting Uraeus serpents depicted sitting above the hieroglyph for cloth or fabric. These serpents are “those who spit fire for Osiris with the flame in their mouth… They are those who illuminate the darkness…” [p 112, Abt & Hornung, Knowedge for the Afterlife.]

The Book of Gates

The central imagery of the Ninth Hour shows the barque within a rectangle of water with images of drowned people within. The water represents the Nun and those adrift within the primeval water being refreshed by the regenerative properties of the water. Ra is depicted within, also taking in the renewal properties of the Nun.

The upper register shows a group of ba-souls who are being given bread and vegetables by people within the scene. The lower register depicts punishments for the enemies against Re. The Fiery One, a giant serpent with the Children of Horus standing upon its coils, spew fire at the enemies. Horus condemns these pictured enemies for what they have committed against his father.

The Book of Night

The gateway of the ninth hour is named “She Whose Flame is Painful.” The solar barque is guided forward by “This Ba“. The hour is related to Nut’s intestines, “the place in the body where food is digested and non-assimilable elements rejected.” [p153, Roberts, My Heart, My Mother]

The ninth hour celebrates the shining countenance of Osiris and those who have been transfigured: “O shining rampart, hear the words of the underworld dwellers. Tend to the needs of those who are in the Duat.” [p150, Roberts, My Heart, My Mother].

Sia commands all beings within this hour, directing them forward. Those who have been transfigured have been ordered to come forth from the inundation waters to receive their offerings. Those who have been transfigured heartily reply to Sia that they have done no harm while within the confines of the Duat. Sia also indicates that all wrong-doers will not be able to see the light of Osiris.

 

Further Reading

  • The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife by Erik Hornung
  • Knowledge for the Afterlife by Theodor Abt and Erik Hornung
  • My Heart, My Mother by Alison Roberts

Be Kind; Please Rewind.

Alternate Title: The Kemetic community needs to re-embrace “don’t be a dick”.

One of the presenters during the leadership conference was Bear Grylls. My office just about lost it when they found out he was going to be presenting this year. I didn’t understand why everyone was so excited about it. To that point, my total knowledge of him was that he had a show about being outside (I have since learned he has had 3 shows about that subject). My coworkers kept going on about how excited they were to hear from him.

As his segment came up, I was mildly distracted by the sun glare on the snow behind him. He kept squinting at the camera and I had an urge to give him my sunglasses. But when he spoke, everyone quieted down to the point where you could hear a pin drop. I was finally beginning to understand why people gave this man a show. He evinced a sort of charisma that left you waiting for what he would say next.

Fear

The presentation that Bear gave was about what he called the Four Fs. These Four Fs were supposed to be in regard to leadership, but as I listened to him discuss them in detail and relate each word back to his own experiences, it was obvious that everyone has come into contact with these Four Fs throughout their lives. The Four Fs are:

  • Failure

Everyone experiences failure at some point in their lives. No one enters into something and immediately gets it on the first try, the eighth try, the one hundreds try. Failure is a part of the human condition, a part of being human at its most basic level. Sometimes the failure is a large one and leaves you wounded from it; sometimes the failure is something small and easily overcome. Failure is something that everyone has experienced and these failures have helped to forge people into the person that they are today.

As much as we may want to deny the moments where we have failed at something, especially the more dramatic flops in our life, we must come to the realization that more often than not, a failure is teaching us. It may teach us how to do something better the next time we come into contact with it, or it may be teaching us that what we thought we wanted isn’t actually right for us. Don’t deny the fact that you failed; embrace it because these failures will be more, often than not, a doorway leading you forward.

  • Fear

No matter what we have gone through in our lives, we have come across fear. It has found us in the dead of night; in the middle of a meeting; as you write a post on the Internet. It lurks around every corner and everyone has had some experience with this feeling. Life as a whole is scary; it is an unknown thing that we all experience and sometimes, we can experience it with other people. Sometimes, we can hold hands with someone beside us and let the feeling of fear wash over us. And sometimes, there is no one there to help you through it.

Everyone is fighting something; everyone is fearful of something. Sometimes we must embrace that fear and continue over the other side of it. There are moments where, no matter how much your instincts may be telling you to turn tail and run, you have to keep going through that moment with fear walking beside you. Face it; use it; embrace it. Take the energy of your fear and use it to keep moving forward. It isn’t a dark moment, not truly, when you stand beside your fear and have to keep going. As the Litany Against Fear says, “I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.”

  • Fire

Everyone has a furnace of fire burning deep within them; a steam engine that keeps them going; a wood-burning stove deep within. This is the drive, the push, the desire to move forward and keep going. This fire may be dampened or darkened because of illness, but it is still there. It pushes people forward and keeps them going even when they don’t want to keep going. Sometimes you have to stoke the flames and sometimes other must stoke it, but the furnace is lit and will continue to burn.

Some people claim that they have none, but that is not true. Everyone has a fire burning deep within; it may be tamped down or hidden, but it is there. You must find it and use it so that you can keep going. Don’t listen to the voices within or without that may be telling you it’s dead and gone; keep looking. As Bear Grylls said, “N.G.U. – never give up.” Or as Galaxy Quest has taught us all, “Never give up; never surrender.”

  • Faith

Everyone has faith. The faith may be in themselves; it may be for other people; it may be in what they’re doing; it may be for a higher power. It doesn’t matter what the cornerstone of that faith is but it is there, deep within. It can be used as the cornerstone or a slab of concrete to build up and outwards, but it is there. It isn’t simply a voice within telling you to keep going; it is a belief and trust that what you are doing is the right thing.

People may complain and say that people use it as a crutch, but it doesn’t matter. That blind trust, that faith, helps to stoke the fire, to face the fear, to admit and embrace the failure. It is the alpha and omega within everyone. It may start off as small and simple, but it can be built up to encompass the totality of the path ahead, a baseline to continue forward.

The one common thread between them all was the thread of kindness, a need for it. The kindness exhibited could be for others or yourself. But it is paramount to show kindness. Acts of kindness were woven through each story associated with each word and it became the overarching theme.

We all face these things, or have gone through these things, or are going through these things. It is imperative to understand that no one is alone in this. We have all experienced failures; we have all faced our fears; we have all stoked the flames of our inner fire; we have all kept going because of faith. Everyone has gone through this, no matter what the path ahead has looked like for each individual.

We must all understand that the path ahead is an individual path; no two are alike. But we have all experienced or are actively experiencing any one of these things at any given time. And it is with both humility and kindness that we can keep going and by extension, others can keep going.

Be kind to others; be kind to yourself. As we all go through failures and fears and fire and faith, it is kindness that helps to see us through. It is kindness to ourselves that reminds us that we are imperfect beings who are navigating through; it is kindness from others that can keep us going for one more hour, one more day, one more possible failure ahead.

The entire presentation was worth the watch, but it was the bit about kindness that stuck out for me because he was right. Kindness for yourself and kindness for others is paramount to success, paramount to continue on. If we cannot be kind to either ourselves or others, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

kindness.

Something I have found lacking in the community is simple kindness. After TTR announced their hiatus, I went through the conversations we had had about the issues they were finding and began scoping out popular posts in the tags. And something that I kept seeing over and over again was this seemingly brusque persona that everyone had crafted for themselves. I suspect that this is a result of a two-fold problem: the toxicity within our community from a few years back and the exhaustion the prolific content creators tend to fall into after a few years.

As I mentioned in my post about TTR taking a hiatus, it can be exhausting when it’s your name being thrown out there the most and people keep asking for the same types of content or more new content. If you’re the only one giving out the information, then it wears you down until you can’t be kind to anyone anymore. You get jaded from all of the wear-and-tear that being a content creator brings with it and no matter how hard you try, it’s hard to find the benefit of the doubt and therefore, hard to find kindness.

When the community broke down, we all began doing our best to embody a little bit of Squidward in our online life. We needed to protect ourselves from the eventual break down of what we had worked hard for. We needed to distance ourselves from the inevitable explosion because it hurt too much to keep caring otherwise.

So everyone who has been around for that long has kind of started to come across a bit brusque when they respond to things and I think it’s a problem. We need to pull back from those parts of ourselves, the parts that we created to save ourselves from burnout or the burn down, and get back to kindness. We need to try and find the benefit of the doubt and we need to think critically when we respond to one another, to new people asking the usual 101 questions, and to outsiders just trying to understand.

I talked a bit about this last year after the last leadership conference I went to: it’s difficult to read tone when your community doesn’t have the ability or desire to be anything more than an online forum-type. It means that you have to sit back and ask yourself if the words you are choosing come across as rude, as ill-tempered, or flat our dick-like.

This is something that comes up for me a lot at work. As I mentioned in that post last year, the majority of my communication is through email. We have calls and talk to people, too, but I would say about 95% of my day is spent in front of a computer. And I can’t tell you how many times I hear complaints from my team about someone “being rude” or “being a dick” when that person is simply responding to something we sent them.

And you know what? When someone says that they got a “rude” response, it is almost always bias. It is a fear that they are coming from a place where they are wrong or a place of anxiety. The tone that they’re reading into the response isn’t there most of the time. It comes across that way because the person responding is trying to be as quick as possible in their response, which means they’re cutting out the fluff to get to the heart of the matter.

It makes things go by quickly, but it doesn’t necessarily mean things are going smoothly.

We do this within our community, too. We try to be quick and efficient, but sometimes you need to add in the flowery, the little kindnesses so that you don’t come across as rude or a dick. It’s a fine line that we walk, but if this community is going to grow as I would like it to and as others seem to want it to, then we need to remember how to not be a dick.

Over five years ago, TTR wrote about this very concept too. It wasn’t framed in a need for kindness, but in the need to embody the phrase “don’t be a dick”. They gave some handy hints on how to not come across that way. We need to go back to that. We need to sit still and think critically before we hit publish or reply. We need to refer back to the “yardstick of dickery” and try to remember that a little kindness can go a long way.

If we don’t, we’re as good as dead. All the chatter and discussion about content and creating it goes out the window if we can’t be nice to each other, or even to ourselves. We need to be kind. We don’t need to take shit, but we at least need to be kind.

Good Enough.

Alternative Title: The Kemetic Community needs to up its content game.

This past week, I attended a leadership conference through my job. This is the second year that I’ve gone and as a result, there will be a few posts based on things I learned about at the conference. As always, as I listened to the various leaders from various countries and background present, I took studious notes, not necessarily for myself, but because I wanted to take what I was learning and use that to help the wider community.

TTR is right – the community does need to do better. And if that means I can impart, perhaps, some form of wisdom to one person at the very right time because I spent two days wearing uncomfortable clothes watching people talk about leadership? Then, I’m fine with that. I’ll go next year and the year after until I finally can go no more because I have died or because I am no longer with this company.

Create

The first presenter talked to us about cost benefit analyses. For those of you who work in certain businesses, like I do, those three words make sense to you. You may have even had to do one or two at work or maybe at home to determine if the cost of something would benefit you or your job or a project in the long run. While the phrase tends to pop up more in investment circles, an analysis of this type can be utilized in many different environments and for many different things.

Recently, someone on my team had completed a review for a site to see if it made sense to make some technological changes for them. As it stood, we found that if we could make the changes we were recommending, we could actually bring back a total savings of about $2500 a year. That’s a really good savings we could bring them and we were all about it.

But as we went forward with this project, we soon learned that there were other factors beyond what we had already studied that put the project into jeopardy. In order to make the tech changes we were recommending, we found that the site would require close to $2000 worth of work to make it ready and capable of accepting our changes.

The cost of the work we needed done to get them to where we needed to make our changes would eat up almost an entire year’s worth of savings. The costs that we were asking for didn’t outweigh the benefit of making the changes we recommended. So, we pulled the plug on the project.

This happens at my job periodically. A client will have an idea that sounds excellent on paper, but we have to help them to see whether or not there is a benefit in proceeding. Sometimes there is a benefit and we don’t find any extraneous costs as we complete our analysis; sometimes we find that the costs are high but so too are the benefits so we move forward; and sometimes there isn’t a benefit and we scrap the project in its entirety.

Now, in the presentation, the presenter had a little graph and his example was the time he spent on one of his speeches or sermons (he’s a pastor). I did my best to recreate it above.

As you can see from the example, if he spends 3 hours of time on something, he can get a decent way up as far as quality is concerned on the graph. He indicated that at this time frame, maybe his sermon or speech was at 75% on the quality scale. He knows he can get it better if he spends a little more time on it, so he does so and gets to the second dot on the graph, which he indicated was probably about 90% or so. If he spends more time on it, the quality of his speech or sermon would more than likely significantly start to decrease and bring the quality back down to the third dot, or what he indicated was probably like 80%.

The point that he spent a decent amount of time talking about was that dot after 5 hours spent, or what he indicated was about 90%. This point was what he called the G.E.T.M.O. point. (I literally thought he said Gitmo the first time he said it out loud and was very happy when he explained what he was actually saying). The G.E.T.M.O. point is the Good Enough To Move On point. This is the highest point you will achieve as far as quality and time spent, so it’s time to put the speech or sermon down and move on with your life.

Too often, people get stuck in this idea that the more time you spend on something, the better the quality. Nine times out of ten that is not true. Much like the bell curve that teachers and professors grade students on, there is a declination point on a cost benefit analysis. The difference being that after a certain amount of cost, the quality of the product, the project, the whatever it is will start to decrease.

Let me tell you a story.

I have a ton of drafts in my blog’s draft bin. I have about 20 right now and some of them go as far back as 2013. I had ideas and I wanted to work on those ideas, to get things out there that I felt needed to be spoken on. My issue is that after 6 years of working on some of those drafts that started in 2013, I have found myself frustrated and irritated with the overall point. I’ve scrapped and re-scrapped the entries so many times over the years that they no longer look like what I had originally envisioned. And frankly, they’re still drafts because they’re just not good.

I should have gotten the drafts to the GETMO point and pressed publish. Instead, I hit save and kept going back to it over and over again until I hated everything that I typed, hated everything that I had said and re-said and re-phrased. Those posts will probably never see the light of day because now, years later, I can’t even remember what the fuck I really wanted to say so the GETMO point has long since disappeared.

I suspect that my story above may sound familiar to some people. Perhaps they had an idea that they wanted to get out and into the world, perhaps to have others comment on or perhaps just to get it seen for future content from someone who was bitten by the bug to write about it. But maybe they hit save instead of publish and now that post will never see the light of day because it doesn’t look good after hours, weeks, months, or years of trying.

If I do it as a person who has tried diligently to bring content to the wider community, then I have very little doubt that there are others out there who have done the same. Or maybe someone has toyed with the idea but assumed they would never even get it to the GETMO point and jettisoned the idea of writing it in the first place.

November-Blues 2

The Kemetic community suffers from a lack of content creators (oh, boy, finally at the point of this post, eh?). Part of this is because of the breakup of the wider community whenever that was: 2015? 2016? Content creators came down on both sides of the split and that meant that the people who were creating before had to create that much more to fill the void. The problem being that more content creators didn’t fill the void.

As someone who was one of those content creators, it is very tiring to sit down and right a post when you know that it more than likely won’t go anywhere. Sometimes your brain turns on you and asks why bother? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down at my laptop to write something and eventually deleted it because I talked myself out of it.

But even with that, I knew that there were ideas and thoughts that I needed to get out there. I would see TTR banging away at content and trying to get people to interact, to think, to come up with their own ideas and I did my best to emulate that with what I had available. But the interaction and follow up that we had once seen happen frequently seemed to dry up. Fewer and fewer were posting their own content or responses to our content and it began to feel very much like we were talking into the void (still does actually).

I can tell you that when I first started this blog nine years ago, I wasn’t writing for anyone but me. I didn’t care if people saw what I said. I didn’t care what the hell the wider community was doing. I needed a place to write down my thoughts and ideas, to figure out what worked and what didn’t while I explored my Kemetic path. When I started to network, I cared a bit more about putting out content because I was Having Ideas and I wanted to share those Ideas with People.

Whether those Ideas panned out or even went beyond a few conversations wasn’t the point necessarily. I wasn’t writing them down simply to write them down. I was hoping to have someone read it, get bitten by the Idea, and move it forward or rework it or maybe say it sucked from start to finish. The hope was that eventually another future content creator would see it and do with it what they would.

I have watched the community silently pack up shop seemingly on the idea of good content. Part of it is no doubt fear. “The thing I want to write is stupid.” Or maybe it’s a fear that assholes are going to do what they do best on the post in question and be assholes. Sure, those are valid fears. But you shouldn’t let them get in your way.

Write the post.

Write the ritual.

Write the rubric.

Write the hymn.

And then hit the word publish instead of save or delete.

Get it out there. Forge ahead on the path that you want to create for yourself, but let others see it.

If they see you making the posts that you want to see, I can assure you that someone, somewhere will see that and get an idea based on what you say. Or they’ll have a response post that they make to what you were originally saying. Or it will shove them into a niche area that they research and put out the content of what they found when they looked into it.

Yes, it’s a terrifying prospect. It is wholly possible that the thing you worked on to its GETMO point gets flipped and destroyed, no longer looking in any way like what you had hoped it would be. It is possible people will dogpile on it and try to shout you down. All of this is possible; absolutely. But that doesn’t mean that what you have in your mind doesn’t need to be said.

Look. We are all of us a long line of Dominoes ready to be pushed over, but only if that one finger pushes the first one over. And the only way to get shoved over is if you write the post and hit publish instead of talking yourself out of it. So go out there, get your idea to the GETMO point, and hit publish.

(Please note: the presenter referred to above is Craig Groeschel. I am in no way affiliated with him or his church. I just find some of what he says on leadership interesting.)

The Eighth Hour.

The Book of the Hidden Chamber [Amduat]

The upper and lower registers are divided into five “caverns” or “vaults”. Gods and other beings are depicted within these spaces, each sitting enthroned on the hieroglyph for cloth or fabric. This is because the act of providing clothes for the deceased was an additional act of rebirth for the deceased. Each vault or cavern is enclosed by red-painted wooden doors. These doors are opened at the invocation of the solar god as it passes through the middle register of this hour.

In the middle register, the sun god is towed forward by eight gods. They call out to the god: “Come indeed to your images, our god, to your ‘Those who belong to the tomb’, who are in the West that you rest in your forms in the Great City. It is Re indeed, whom the cavern-dwellers reverse, when you illuminate the darkness of those upon their sand. Come indeed!, to yourself, that you may rest. Re, who is towed, Lord of Towing!” [p. 102, Abt & Hornung, Knowledge for the Afterlife.]

Before the towing gods there are nine Shemes-signs, which are symbols personifying the jurisdiction of the Sungod. In addition, they are joined by the four rams of Tatenen, which bear the head-dresses of the Sungod. These images of Tatenen are representative forms of Ra as Ra is not only a ba-soul of Osiris, but also the ba-soul of Tatenen.

The Book of Gates

The hour begins with a depiction of time, spooled out hour by hour. This same rope is being used to guide the solar barque forward. In the center register, Re commands the “lords of provisions in the west” to allocate all provisions for the deceased as well as to inflict even on his enemies. The mummies at the bottom of the hour have turned themselves over, showing that they are in the process of resurrection. A group of judges stands nearby, providing them with protection.

The Book of Night

The eighth hour is associated with Nut’s gall bladder. The gateway of this hour is known as “the Leader Who Fights for her Lord.” The guide for the sun boat during this hour is Horus of the Netherworld. This hour shows a distinctive change in the narrative for the remaining hours, with a seeming focus on the blessed dead.

The top register shows two jackal-headed gods standing with arms at their side. Beneath these two are three additional gods standing as well. The middle register depicts the solar barque as it passes through this hour.

The lowest register shows an image of Horus providing an ankh to Osiris, who sits enthroned while wearing the White Crown of Upper Egypt. Directly above this image stands a multitude of people with their arms raised up in adoration to Osiris. These beings are the sleepers, awoken beings, and transfigured ones referenced in the second and third hours.

Beneath the throne of Osiris shows a bound enemy. This being is unnamed and is bound to keep hostile forces at bay in the presence of Osiris. This seems to indicate that if an enemy is to be brought before Osiris, it should always be bound to prevent a second death on him.

Further Reading

  • The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife by Erik Hornung
  • Knowledge for the Afterlife by Theodor Abt and Erik Hornung
  • My Heart, My Mother by Alison Roberts

The Seventh Hour.

The Book of the Hidden Chamber [Amduat]

We have entered an hour filled with danger. The light is young and unable to defend itself from evil; it must be kept safe at all costs. Within this hour, we see all manner of evil that try to stop the sun from continuing on its journey and to prevent the rejuvenation of Osiris.

The central imagery depicts the encounter with A/pep. Its body lies upon a sandbank and appears when the water the solar barque traveled on is swallowed up. It has dried up the waterway that the barque was using to travel on. It is only by the magic of Isis and the sun god that the solar barque and by extension, the sun god, is able to continue on the journey.

Isis and the “Eldest Sourcerer” (Seth), standing at the prow of the barque, cast a spell on him while the scorpion-goddess, Selkis, throws fetters around his body, which other helpers hack to pieces. To avert any further threat, the Sungod is henceforth protected by the Mehen-serpent (“The Enveloper”) around his shrine.

The upper register depicts the punishment that is inflicted on the enemies of Osiris, who have been bound and decapitated. Osiris sits enthroned before his injured enemies, protected by the Mehen-serpent. He sits aloft in judgment of the dead.

The lowest register shows the stars sent on their way to indicate the order has been re-established and A/pep can no longer disturb them. They move forward to share in the sun god’s renewal.

The Book of Gates

The primary focus for this hour is the destruction of any and all enemies that would possibly prevent the rebirth of the sun’s from being completed. Within the middle register, enemies of Re have been bound to the jackal-head “stakes of Geb” to be punished with Re providing his consent for this to continue.

Above this central image, groups of the blessed dead are shown. They are depicted with baskets filled with bread or with ma’at, to show that they have passed through the Hall of Judgement and are provided for in the afterlife. This imagery is a stark contrast with that shown in the middle register, as though to highlight the the difference between those who follow ma’at and those who fight against it.

In the bottom scene, deities and/or the deceased busy themselves with the work of providing for themselves. They are harvest the grain given fresh life in the rays of the renewed sun.

The Book of Caverns

This book ends at this juncture. The final section is a conclusion, of sorts. The imagery of this conclusion shows the two mounds from which the Sun God, Re, emerges. Gods rejoice on either side of these mounds and the solar barque is towed from sight by twelve underworld deities. “At the end of his journey, Re enters the eastern mountain, once again providing light for the world of the living.” [p 90, Hornung, The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife.]

The Book of Night

The gateway entrance to the Seventh Hour is known as “Lady of the Holy and Mysterious.” The hour itself is described as “Smiter of the Confederates of Seth.” This hour more than likely takes place in the liver of Nut, though this is far from concrete.

The register of this hour shows a multitude of companions standing above the sunboat in the middle register. They represent both existing and non-existence. Some of the beings’ names are “She who gives birth to her son”, “He who comes into being in the dark”, and “Iba-dancer”.

The lowest register depicts a variety of transfigured akh and the dead, who have been damned. Opposite this imagery stands Horus who leans upon a staff. He is watching over a group of bound captives that represent the traditional enemies of Egypt, as well as Egyptians who have fought against ma’at. He says to them, “You are the rebels who have bound my father Osiris. My father Osiris has caused that I should strike your enemies as Khenty-Irty. Hence it is he who strikes you.” [p 144, Roberts, My Heart, My Mother.]

Beside the captives within this register, there are two groups known as “the People of the Desert” (Red Land) and “the People of the Black Land”. They stand together, united, before Horus to represent the unification of ancient Egypt as well as the reconciliation between Set and Horus after the Contendings.

Further Reading

  • The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife by Erik Hornung
  • Knowledge for the Afterlife by Theodor Abt and Erik Hornung
  • My Heart, My Mother by Alison Roberts

The Sixth Hour.

The Book of the Hidden Chamber [Amduat]

We have finally come to the hour when Ra and Osiris can unite as we approach the hour of midnight. The sixth hour is known as the “waterhole of those of the netherworld” as the hour is filled with the primeval waters of the Nun. This is the hour where the ba-soul of the Sungod, of Ra, is joined together with the corpse of Osiris and the light of the sun is rekindled. It is here, too, that Ra is reunited with both of his eyes.

The upper register depicts Osiris in an aspect of a couchant lion, called “Bull with Roaring Voice.” Above the lion, we see a set of eyes that are named the divine eye of Re. The text reads: “The Bull with roaring voice rejoices when Re rests upon his divine eye.” Behind the lion and the pair of divine eyes, we see Isis in her form of Isis-Tayt sitting upon a throne.

When the Ba of Re rests upon his divine eyes above the divine lion-bull, which is Osiris, it is like a union of the two divinities. In this very moment of the union of Re and Osiris, the divine eye of the sungod appears for the first time as a part of eyes. This pair is still very small but already seeing; it will appear again larger in the 11th hour. The Amduat describes at different places the theme of the appearance, protection, and restoration of the eyesight, or in other words the creation of consciousness.

Within the middle register, we see Djehuty in his baboon-headed form, offering himself off in his ibis form to a goddess. Within the goddess’s hands, she holds the two eyes of Re.

The myriad kings of Upper and Lower Egypt are addressed within this hour, within this register. This is the only time that they are mentioned within the Duat. The kings are shown in mummiform and must face their predecessors. “Just before the creation of the new light at the end of the middle register of this 6th hour, the Sungod addresses his ancestors. They are nourished and strengthened by it: ‘you are those who are content with the offerings which divine utterance has given to you.’ And they in turn are those who render homage o the Sungod on earth, and have punished A/pep.” [p 83, Abt & Hornung, Knowledge of the Afterlife: The Egyptian Amduat.]

Towards the end of the middle register, the corpse of the sun with a beetle above its head is depicted. It is protected by a multi-headed serpent. This is “the mysterious image of the netherworld, unknown and unseen”. The image is described as the body and flesh of Osiris with the beetle depicting the ba-soul of the Sungod, Ra. It is this image that depicts the reunion of the soul and body within this hour so that new life can grow and rise again.

In the very bottom register, multiple beings are depicted. Most interestingly are the many serpents towards the edge of the scene wielding knives as though to protect the Sungod from some future enemy that will come upon him on his journey forward.

The Book of Gates

Preceding the Sixth Hour, there is a depiction of the judgment hall shown. This is “the only depiction of the Judgment of the Dead in the Books of the Netherworld, and it is also distinguished by the use of cryptographic writing. As judge, Osiris sits enthroned on a stepped dais while the personified scale in front of him, unlike that in the Book of the Dead, displays empty pans. An Ennead of blessed, justified dead stand on the steps, and the enemies lying invisibly under their feet are consigned to the Place of Annihilation.” [p 62, Hornung, The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife.]

The sixth hour depiction within this book is not unlike that seen within the Amduat. It is here, within this hour, that the reunification of the body of the Sungod and the ba-soul commences. “So that this critical event is not interfered with, the archfiend A/pep must be kept at a distance, a feat being accomplished by the gods holding forked poles in the upper register; from the serpent’s body rise the heads of people A/pep has swallowed and is now obliged to set free again.” [p 62, Hornung, The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife.]

The Book of Caverns

Prior to the opening of this section, there is a long text that contains thirteen litanies. “One more, the goal of the sun god is to gaze on his corpse and effect the resurrection of Osiris-Imenrenef, “he whose name is hidden.’.” [p 89, Hornung, The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife.]

The first scene in this section shows Anubis taking care of various corpses, which lie within their sarcophagi. Anubis is shown within the next scene as well, as he tends to the sun god within the god’s sarcophagus. Behind the sun god’s sarcophagus rests two more. In the third scene, there are two goddesses watching over the various forms of the sun god. The final scene shows Osiris-Orion stopping over a mound that holds the body of a bound and decapitated enemy.

The middle register starts with the image of a scarab beetle, which is pushing the sun disk out from between the two mysterious caverns of the West. These caverns contain Osiris and Ra. The text accompanying this section references the rebirth of the sun god. The final scene of this register depicts a threat to this rebirth: “represented as the great serpent encircling the solar beetle; the ‘two old and great gods in the Duat,’ shown in the two ovals see to it that the serpent is placed under a spell and cut into pieces. By way of contrast, the serpent inside the mound in the third scene seems to be a regenerating one, for Re emerges from the mound in the form of a ram’s head and tarries on the mound of Tatenen, which contains the tomb of this god of the depths of the earth.” [p 90, Hornung, The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife.]

On the continuing journey forward, Ra meets first with two sarcophagi that contain falcon-headed deities, while the next scene shows headless gods awaiting restoration of their heads by the ability to speak thus into being by Ra. The lower scene shows, yet again, those being punished in the Place of Annihilation:

In the first scene, goddesses arms with knives “take care of” four supine beheaded figures whose heads are set in front of their feet along with the hearts that have been torn from their bodies; according to the caption, their bas and shadows are also punished. The second scene contains four bound female enemies guarded by two goddesses with jackals’ heads; Re has condemned these enemies “to the Place of Annihilation, from which there is no escape.” In the third scene, a god and a goddess guard four kneeling bound enemies whose heads have been cut off. In the last scene, enemies plunge headfirst into the depths, while Osiris, surrounded by the great serpent, arises from these depths, which are again the Place of Annihilation.

The Book of Night

The gateway into the sixth hour is simply named, The Lady of Life, thus highlighting the life-giving function of the upcoming hour. The night barque is guided forward by Horus on the Tree, “the capacity to manifest power, not least sexual power and movement, has returned to the bodies of the ‘image’ realm.” [p 128, Roberts, My Heart, My Mother.] This hour appears to be associated with the lungs.

The lowest register shows a woman between two men. Each being hovers over a mummy, which is lying on top of a lion bed. The imagery evokes the idea of the ba hovering over its own body. The accompanying texts reads: “The living Bas are sailing, the corpses are sailing in their places.” This imagery gives the Cliff’s Notes version of what this hour is about: the ba is back.

For it is the ba which enables a person to manifest feeling and desire outwardly towards others. Likewise, it is the ba which facilitates movement between heaven and earth.

Moreover, reference to the ‘sailing bas‘ suggests that wind, the breath of life so necessary for human existence, has reached these regions. Now the ba is able to move between heaven and earth. No longer partially bound as in the fifth hour, the night travelers can travel freely with the sun.

With the return of the ba, the heart is fully functional.

Beside the images of the sailing Bas, we see a group of three known as the “Wandering Ones.” They are shown bent over with their hair covering their faces, hands reached up towards their faces in the symbolic imagery of one in the midst of mourning. In front of these three wandering ones, we are shown three furnaces that have flames shooting forth. Within some of the scenes of this hours, bound enemies can be seen being burned.

Across from this scene, three more people in the same position as The Wandering Ones are shown. These three people may be known as the “Seizers”. Next to these three, we see three more people lying on their back with their hands upraised. These ones are known as “Those at the Limits”. As Roberts states regarding these seemingly oddly places scenes: “For these night travelers are passing through the flames of new birth, encountering the fiery destruction and heat from which new life arises.” [p 135-6, Roberts, My Heart, My Mother.]
Further Reading

  • The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife by Erik Hornung
  • Knowledge for the Afterlife by Theodor Abt and Erik Hornung
  • My Heart, My Mother by Alison Roberts

The Fifth Hour.

The fourth hour was associated with elemental powers, however that power was turned inward. As the beings passing through the night hours onto their way to the next phase of their existence, they had to jump-start their own abilities or the ability of the gods to ensure a successful rebirth.

The fifth hour is an hour of dichotomies: green, or ma’at-affirming, behavior in conjunction with a reminder as to what punishments lie ahead for those who deserve them.

The Book of the Hidden Chamber [Amduat]

This hour is separated into three registers. Although they are three distinct scenes, they are connected with the middle scene formed by Osiris’ burial mound. To either side of the mound, Isis and Nephthys are depicted in the forms of birds. Within this hour, we finally come to the Nun, the primordial water of life. This is an area of opposites, an area of fire and water, desert and watered land.

The top register towards the middle, Khepri is shown coming out of Osiris’s burial mound. “He is obviously needed to help the ram-headed form of the old Sungod to adjust the rope of the otwing over the head of this cavern. It is just a fine adjustment, as there is no tension in the rope. There is a very subtle cooperation of the half renewed Sungod (the scarab) with the ram-headed old Sungod that is pulled by the deities, heading towards his renewal.” [p 69, Abt & Hornung, Knowledge of the Afterlife: The Egyptian Amduat.]

The middle register depicts a passage that is shown as narrow because of the head of Isis at its center. The Sungod must negotiate this narrow portion of the land of Sokar carefully. The barque is pulled forward by seven goddesses. it is here, within the body of Isis, that we are shown that she holds the elements at bay. It is through her that both water and fire, desert and primordial water are both kept apart and merged together in their aspects within the journey of rebirth.

In the lowest register, a cave is shown surrounded by both water and desert, fire and water. Within the circular indication of the cave, Osiris in his form of Sokar is shown having been merged with the Sungod in a form of a winged, multi-headed serpent. Around the cave, the double headed motif of Aker is shown.

Beneath the lowest register, the Lake of Fire is shown as waves. This is the place where sinners are punished, but the blessed dead are able to drink cool waters from this same lake. Though paradoxical in nature, this too highlights the coming together of opposites within this hour as the Sungod continues his journey forward.

The Book of Gates

Within this hour, the deceased are given space and time within this hour. Space is designated in the form of fields, with the gods showing being depicted with surveying cords, and time is depicted in the form of hieroglyphs meaning “lifetime”. In front of the solar barque, A/pep is shown imprisoned to prevent it from stopping the barque. Behind this image, the ba-souls of the deceased are shown, having been placed in the care of Sekhmet and Horus.

The Book of Caverns

This section begins with litanies that discuss the rejuvenation of the sun by Tatenen. Nut is depicted who is lifting the ram-headed sun and the solar disk in her upraised hands. She faces the three registers of this section.

The upper register shows the image of Osiris, whose hands reach out towards Ra, and four-human headed serpents. The next scene, Tatenen is lifted up by the corpses of Atum and Khepri. There are two sarcophagus following: both depict the form of Ra as a child.

The middle register shows four falcon-headed mummies, which are forms of Horus. Behind is Anubis in the form of a guardian and a coffin, which shows the scepter of Atum. This coffin with the scepter of Atum embodies the potential of creation, the potential of the sun god to create. Four more goddesses are shown towards the end of the register, anonymous and unknown.

The final register depicts the punishments meted out by “the female slaughterer carrying two stakes in her hands; two bound prisoners kneel next to her.” [p 88, Hornung, The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife.] The next two scenes show enemies that are being punished in a large cauldron. The first cauldron holds the heads and hearts of these enemies while the second shows the bound and upside-down bodies of these enemies. “The ‘arms of the Place of Annihilation’ lift the cauldrons up out of the depths while uraei fan the flames beneath them.” [p 88, Hornung, The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife.]

Opposite this scene, a large-scale image of Osiris is shown. He is depicted in ithyphallic form, along with his ba. A protective serpent rears up in front of him. “In the continuation of the three registers behind him, the oval containing the four ‘flesh’ hieroglyphs again refer to the corpse of Osiris, which is cared for by the light and the voice of Re, and which is at the same time addressed as his own body and his ‘decay’.” [p 88, Hornung, The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife.] Beneath him, the goddess Tayt calls a greeting to Ra and Osiris.

The Book of Night

The fifth hour begins in the throat and breast region of Nut’s body. This area indicates that we have truly entered the “life-giving” realm on the journey through the hours of the night. This place within the body of the goddess is a transitional realm, filled with both life-affirming and chaotic elements.

At the bottom of the images of this house, we are shown bound enemies. Some of these figures are shown decapitated. They are named as “the followers of Seth,” which seems to indicate that these beings are the representations of those who have opposed the nightly process of renewal.

The living beings within this realm are shown in much better condition than those depicted in previous hours. The people are clearly depicted as living, breathing beings. They lie on their stomachs with raised heads. It is clear that within this hour, they are capable of movement and of basic life functions though they still have some ways to go before they are fully restored to themselves.

The imagery surrounding the beings within this hour also seems to suggest an association with plants. “The travelers’ newly-acquired ‘plant’ or ‘ka‘-nature is also visually suggested by the three groups of three people who are shown seated on plants to the right of them, sprouting and blooming again in this burgeoning, vivifying life realm, feeling the power of green shoots surging through their body.” [p 124, Roberts, My Heart, My Mother.]

It is within this hour that power returns to the hearts of the beings passing through the body of Nut.

Further Reading

  • The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife by Erik Hornung
  • Knowledge for the Afterlife by Theodor Abt and Erik Hornung
  • My Heart, My Mother by Alison Roberts

 

The Fourth Hour.

The third hour was an hour of elemental powers: either the powers of the gods and the chaos from the power that emanates from them or an internal struggle of one’s self as the soul moves forward in its attempt to be reborn. Above all else, the point in the previous hour was almost as if we need to battle ourselves or the gods themselves. No matter the outside influences or internal influences of the battle itself, the overall point was to come out the other side of it as a pure form of yourself.

The fourth hour is a mix of elemental power again, but that power is turned inwards.

The Book of the Hidden Chamber [Amduat]

The fourth hour heralds the entry into Rosetjau, or the Land of Sokar, who is upon his sand. The world has shifted from the abundant greenery and fertility of the preceding hour to a barren desert. A primordial darkness pervades the land of Rosetjau, a place filled with monsters. These beings are serpent-like with legs, wings, and several heads.

The waters of the Nun have receded and the netherworld can no longer be navigated upon the Nun. An absolute darkness precedes the solar barque within the sandy domain of this hour and the barque must be towed forward. The barque has turned itself into a double-headed serpent that pulses out a fiery breath that pierces the darkness:

This great god sails by them like this:
It is the flames from the mouth of his barque
That guide him on these mysterious ways,
without his seeing their images.

The registers of this hour are separated by a zigzag path, “full of fire from the mouth of Isis and repeatedly blocked by doors… The doors are called knife since they cut the way in several places.” [p58, Abt & Hornung, Knowledge of the Afterlife: The Egyptian Amduat.]

Ra, himself, no longer blazes forth with his shining light in this hour. He moves forever with diminished light, incapable of using his own light to wake those in their eternal slumber. He uses his voice, instead, to call out to those in the darkness: “Ra takes care of those who are in (this hour) with his voice without his seeing them.” [p58, Abt & Hornung, Knowledge of the Afterlife: The Egyptian Amduat.] The silence is absolute throughout this hour until Ra passes through, calling out orders to the beings of the Netherworld. Those who hear his voice cry out in joy when he arrives and weep at his leaving.

Within the center of this scene, the darkened eye has been injured because of the darkness of this hour and requires both Sokar and Djehuty to protect and renew it from the evil beings that inhabit the darkness of this hour. In addition to the work of these two gods, four deities holding the ankh of life out towards the Solar Eye. One of the deities depicted is that of Onuris, the god who brought the Distant Goddess back to the fold. While Ra is given life from these gods, so too are the deceased.

The Book of Gates

Two bodies of water guarded by jackals dominate the imagery of the fourth hour: the Lake of Life and the Lake of Uraei. Hornung posits that these two lakes may be variations of the Lake of Fire espied in the previous hour. As the solar barque moves forward, mummiform bodies lie before him in their journey forward to their own rebirth. As he passes, he brings about their resurrection and provisioning. Beneath the resuscitation of the mummies, Osiris lays enshrined in protective splendor, surrounded by the gods of his entourage. His son, Horus, takes care of him while the enemies of Osiris are punished in the fiery pits at the end of the hour.

The Book of Caverns

The beginning of this next section is shown again in replication of the first portion of the Duat: a solar disk and ram-headed sun god are depicted but this time, between them is an erect serpent. The name of this serpent is Great One on His Belly. As everyone rejoices at the entrance of the sun god, Ra assures promises to Osiris and his followers.

Nephthys and Isis are shown lifting the body of Osiris to initiate his resurrection. In the next scene, he is cared by his two “sons” [sic], Horus and Anubis. And in the last scene in the top register, he is depicted as the Bull of the West beside the god Horus-Mekhentienirty, the mongoose, who has taken the place of his son.

Beneath this section, the sun god is leaning on a staff and is presented with three separate forms of Osiris. In the next scene, Horus and Anubis stand protectively in front of the double corpse of Osiris and again in front of the ba of Osiris.

In the bottom most register, the enemies of Osiris are bound and standing on their heads. “Between them appear the ‘annihilators in the Place of Annihilation,’ with whom the ‘cat-formed one, from whose clutches there is no escape’ is associated as a punishing demon in the first scene.” [p87, Hornung, The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife.] The enemies, as further punishment for their sins, cannot see or hear the sun god and that their ba-souls have been robbed from them.

The Book of Night

The Fourth Hour gateway leads us to the throat of Nut. The barque is pulled forward now by He Who Divides the Offerings and the gateway itself is called: “Sharp of knives, Mistress of the Two Lands, who destroys the enemies of the Tired Heart (an epithet of Osiris), who arouses trembling before the Sinless One, who removes wrong-doing.” The names of both the guide and the gateway seem to herald a focus more on the protection of Osiris during this hour.

The hour itself is filled with a fertile and hilly region. Trees grow abundant within this hour and the terrain is filled with vegetation that grows and flourishes. The greening of this hour seems to indicate that the solar barque has finally entered into the life-giving, or ka-realm; a place where nourishment is easily obtained. Beings live on the banks and rivers surrounding this green-filled place, nameless and weeping:

To the left of the hill-sign are groups of people called “Those of the Banks”, “Those of the Shores” and “Those of the Riverside”, who all crouch forward with disheveled hair, and hands held to their faces in the gesture of mourning. Like the people of the fields and channel at the close of the previous hour, their names suggest they inhabit a canal-landscape belonging to the inundated land. And obviously, too, this transition to a fertile realm in the fourth hour is a time of some disorder and confusion.

Beyond these beings, fish-headed beings that are nameless appear. They have their arms tied behind their back. The explanation for these beings is not clear, but the prevailing theory is that these are the enemies of Osiris, those who sided with Set during the battle between the two brothers, who are being punished for their crimes. They, too, are shown as weeping.

The bound fish-headed creatures seem to indicate that while this hour is where life can be renewed, it is a constant battle to be able to move forward on the path to rebirth. On all sides, hostile forces roam free and must be fought against. It is, perhaps, because of the enemies of Osiris that the people also are shown weeping upon the banks of the river and canal:

They weep and mourn because of the terror and confusion in their aquatic habitation caused by the struggle with Sethian creatures. And it is along these disorderly ways that each and every human, each and every divine being, must travel in order to reach the fertile nurturing regions.

In the upper register of this hour, four deities are shown.

The first is a mummiform god known as the ‘Veiled One.’ “The ‘Veiled One’ perhaps refers to the concealment of death or wounds of Osiris – only initiates were allowed to see the weariness of Osiris, who must be protected from his enemies.” [p120, Roberts, My Heart, My Mother.]

The second deity is a figure entitled Djed, ‘The One Who is Stable’. “Djed, (the Stable One) is an obvious allusion to the djed pillar and the raising of Osiris from the inertia and inactivity he has fallen into because of Seth’s wicked deeds against him.” [p120, Roberts, My Heart, My Mother.]

The final two deities are “The One-who-is-in-his-Shrine” and an enthroned goddess, “She who is Seated,” which is an obvious allusion to Aset.

Further Reading

  • The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife by Erik Hornung
  • Knowledge for the Afterlife by Theodor Abt and Erik Hornung
  • My Heart, My Mother by Alison Roberts