Sovereign Right: Embassies

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE

 

The recent demonstrations in the Gaza strip protesting the movement of the United States Embassy to Jerusalem seems to be a statement of just how out of hand the Palestinian issue has become. First let us understand that any sovereign nation has the right to establish an embassy where ever it so chooses, as these are considered to be independent of the host country, meaning it is an extension of the territory of the sovereign nation. Second, as a sovereign nation it is not answerable to any political blackmail from any foreign power or organization, as to its sovereign right of expression as to where it deems appropriate in placing its government offices.

Now, the world is giving too much credence to a terrorist government (Hamas) whose tenets of annihilation of the state of Israel have not changed. That it allows the press to berate the United States for exercising its sovereign right, and victimize the deplorably actives that have come about in the last few months, organized by Hamas against Israel in an attempt to bring world pressure on the U. S. to revoke its previous commitment to move its embassy.

The United Nations in its feeble attempts to placate the Hamas regime with its calls for possible war crimes investigations in to the deaths of Palestinians by the Israeli armed forces, which were protecting their borders from what might be seen as not a protest but aggressive action given the past history of the region. Another failure of this so called august body, considering that a few years earlier this same Hamas was planning suicide bombers in side Israel, and even of late instigating individual attacks. Yet, no condemnation of such attacks against civilian populations inside Israel.

As once stated that “Facts are Facts, no matter how you ignore then” and the media propaganda to confuse the issue cannot hide the facts. There is an agenda in the Middle East, organized by outside governments in an attempt to keep this conflict ongoing, presuming that persistence and public opinions will eventually  produce their desired ends. If they truly were concerned with the refugees then they would have spent more effort on improving their plight inside Gaza instead of encouraging them to throw themselves into the flames of war.

The world has somehow been beguiled by the propaganda of 50 years into accepting the story of misery of the displaced, instead of asking why are they still living as they are. Why have in the last 50 years have they not progressed, improved their living conditions, their way of life? Why? Should not these questions be addressed also? Should not their leadership take some responsibility for this failure? Does the leadership of these “liberation” groups live as their follower’s do?

Should the United Nations look to its own house and see what failures it is guilty of concerning these people? What failures it has compounded in the last 50 years in resolving this ongoing wound.

Back to the topic of this article, if public opinion should be the deciding factor in establishment of foreign embassies  in the host country, then I have a few locations picked out for certain Nations, and may decide to generate a Facebook and Tweeter movement to support them. #GETTHEHELLOUT

Thank you for taking the time to read this

CONTRIBUTOR: Eddy Toorall

 

Advertisements

Memorial Poems

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE

There is a new-made grave to-day,
Built by never a spade nor pick
Yet covered with earth ten metres thick.
There lie many fighting men,
Dead in their youthful prime,
Never to laugh nor love again
Nor taste the Summertime.
For Death came flying through the air
And stopped his flight at the dugout stair,
Touched his prey and left them there,
Clay to clay.
He hid their bodies stealthily
In the soil of the land they fought to free
And fled away.
Now over the grave abrupt and clear
Three volleys ring;
And perhaps their brave young spirits hear
The bugle sing:
“Go to sleep!
Go to sleep!
Slumber well where the shell screamed and fell.
Let your rifles rest on the muddy floor,
You will not need them any more.
Danger’s past;
Now at last,
Go to sleep!”
There is on earth no worthier grave
To hold the bodies of the brave
Than this place of pain and pride
Where they nobly fought and nobly died.
Never fear but in the skies
Saints and angels stand
Smiling with their holy eyes
On this new-come band.
St. Michael’s sword darts through the air
And touches the aureole on his hair
As he sees them stand saluting there,
His stalwart sons;
And Patrick, Brigid, Columkill
Rejoice that in veins of warriors still
The Gael’s blood runs.
And up to Heaven’s doorway floats,
From the wood called Rouge Bouquet
A delicate cloud of bugle notes
That softly say:
“Farewell!
Farewell!
Comrades true, born anew, peace to you!
Your souls shall be where the heroes are
And your memory shine like the morning-star.
Brave and dear,
Shield us here.
Farewell!”

Author: Sargent Joyce Kilmer “Fighting 69th” Infantry Regiment U.S. Army (WWI-France) Killed in Action 30 July 1918; Second Battle of the Marne

IN FLANDERS FIELDS
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
  That mark our place; and in the sky
  The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
 We are the Dead.   Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
  Loved and were loved, and now we lie
      In Flanders fields.
 
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
  The torch; be yours to hold it high.
  If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
      In Flanders fields.
 AUTHOR: LT. Colonel John Mc Crea: Canadian  Expeditionary Froces (WWI-France)

Shadow-A Parable: Poe

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE

 

YE who read are still among the living; but I who write shall have long since gone my way into the region of shadows. For indeed strange things shall happen, and secret things be known, and many centuries shall pass away, ere these memorials be seen of men. And, when seen, there will be some to disbelieve, and some to doubt, and yet a few who will find much to ponder upon in the characters here graven with a stylus of iron.

The year had been a year of terror, and of feelings more intense than terror for which there is no name upon the earth. For many prodigies and signs had taken place, and far and wide, over sea and land, the black wings of the Pestilence were spread abroad. To those, nevertheless, cunning in the stars, it was not unknown that the heavens wore an aspect of ill; and to me, the Greek Oinos, among others, it was evident that now had arrived the alternation of that seven hundred and ninety-fourth year when, at the entrance of Aries, the planet Jupiter is conjoined with the red ring of the terrible Saturnus. The peculiar spirit of the skies, if I mistake not greatly, made itself manifest, not only in the physical orb of the earth, but in the souls, imaginations, and meditations of mankind.

Over some flasks of the red China wine, within the walls of a noble hall, in a dim city called Ptolemais, we sat, at night, a company of seven. And to our chamber there was no entrance save by a lofty door of brass: and the door was fashioned by the artisan Corinnos, and, being of rare workmanship, was fastened from within. Black draperies, likewise, in the gloomy room, shut out from our view the moon, the lurid stars, and the people less streets–but the boding and the memory of Evil they would not be so excluded. There were things around us and about of which I can render no distinct account–things material and spiritual–heaviness in the atmosphere–a sense of suffocation–anxiety–and, above all, that terrible state of existence which the nervous experience when the senses are keenly living and awake, and meanwhile the powers of thought lie dormant. A dead weight hung upon us. It hung upon our limbs–upon the household furniture–upon the goblets from which we drank; and all things were depressed, and borne down thereby–all things save only the flames of the seven lamps which illumined our revel.

Up-rearing themselves in tall slender lines of light, they thus remained burning all pallid and motionless; and in the mirror which their luster formed upon the round table of ebony at which we sat, each of us there assembled beheld the pallor of his own countenance, and the unquiet glare in the downcast eyes of his companions. Yet we laughed and were merry in our proper way–which was hysterical; and sang the songs of Anacreon–which are madness; and drank deeply–although the purple wine reminded us of blood. For there was yet another tenant of our chamber in the person of young Zoilus. Dead, and at full length he lay, enshrouded; the genius and the demon of the scene.

Alas! He bore no portion in our mirth, save that his countenance, distorted with the plague, and his eyes, in which Death had but half extinguished the fire of the pestilence, seemed to take such interest in our merriment as the dead may haply take in the merriment of those who are to die. But although I, Oinos, felt that the eyes of the departed were upon me, still I forced myself not to perceive the bitterness of their expression, and gazing down steadily into the depths of the ebony mirror, sang with a loud and sonorous voice the songs of the son of Teios. But gradually my songs they ceased, and their echoes, rolling afar off among the sable draperies of the chamber, became weak, and undistinguishable, and so faded away.

And lo! From among those sable draperies where the sounds of the song departed, there came forth a dark and undefined shadow–a shadow such as the moon, when low in heaven, might fashion from the figure of a man: but it was the shadow neither of man nor of God, nor of any familiar thing. And quivering awhile among the draperies of the room, it at length rested in full view upon the surface of the door of brass. But the shadow was vague, and formless, and indefinite, and was the shadow neither of man nor of God–neither God of Greece, nor God of Chaldaea, nor any Egyptian God. And the shadow rested upon the brazen doorway, and under the arch of the entablature of the door, and moved not, nor spoke any word, but there became stationary and remained. And the door whereupon the shadow rested was, if I remember aright, over against the feet of the young Zoilus enshrouded.

But we, the seven there assembled, having seen the shadow as it came out from among the draperies, dared not steadily behold it, but cast down our eyes, and gazed continually into the depths of the mirror of ebony. And at length I, Oinos, speaking some low words, demanded of the shadow its dwelling and its appellation. And the shadow answered, “I am SHADOW, and my dwelling is near to the Catacombs of Ptolemais, and hard by those dim plains of Helusion which border upon the foul Charonian canal.” And then did we, the seven, start from our seats in horror, and stand trembling, and shuddering, and aghast, for the tones in the voice of the shadow were not the tones of any one being, but of a multitude of beings, and, varying in their cadences from syllable to syllable fell duskly upon our ears in the well-remembered and familiar accents of many thousand departed friends.

REFERENCE

TITLE: SHADOW–A PARABLE

AUTHOR: Edgar Allen Poe

CONTRIBUTOR: Jenny Dunnaway

Rouge Bouquet: Memorial Poem

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE

In a wood they call the Rouge Bouquet
There is a new-made grave to-day,
Built by never a spade nor pick
Yet covered with earth ten metres thick.
There lie many fighting men,
Dead in their youthful prime,
Never to laugh nor love again
Nor taste the Summertime.
For Death came flying through the air
And stopped his flight at the dugout stair,
Touched his prey and left them there,
Clay to clay.
He hid their bodies stealthily
In the soil of the land they fought to free
And fled away.
Now over the grave abrupt and clear
Three volleys ring;
And perhaps their brave young spirits hear
The bugle sing:
“Go to sleep!
Go to sleep!
Slumber well where the shell screamed and fell.
Let your rifles rest on the muddy floor,
You will not need them any more.
Danger’s past;
Now at last,
Go to sleep!”
There is on earth no worthier grave
To hold the bodies of the brave
Than this place of pain and pride
Where they nobly fought and nobly died.
Never fear but in the skies
Saints and angels stand
Smiling with their holy eyes
On this new-come band.
St. Michael’s sword darts through the air
And touches the aureole on his hair
As he sees them stand saluting there,
His stalwart sons;
And Patrick, Brigid, Columkill
Rejoice that in veins of warriors still
The Gael’s blood runs.
And up to Heaven’s doorway floats,
From the wood called Rouge Bouquet
A delicate cloud of bugle notes
That softly say:
“Farewell!
Farewell!
Comrades true, born anew, peace to you!
Your souls shall be where the heroes are
And your memory shine like the morning-star.
Brave and dear,
Shield us here.
Farewell!”

Author: Sargent Joyce Kilmer “Fighting 69th” Infantry Regiment U.S. Army (WWI-France) Killed in Action 30 July 1918; Second Battle of the Marne

A Study in the Acquisition of Totalitarian Control

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE

 

Foreword: I feel compelled to add a background segment to this article. Although I have drawn from the International War Crimes trial of Nurnberg 1945-46 concerning the NAZI régime and its effect on the world for the information, remember that fascist is only an ideology. If you concentrate on the “labels” instead of the tactics then you will miss the meaning behind the events. This in an informational article only, of steps taken by one such group, determined to achieve the final objective, “seizure of power”. This being said, I point out that as an observer and student of history, there are many groups that employ the very means as noted below to advance their agenda. All I can say is pay attention for as one once said, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. The Bracket numbers at the end of quotes are the official document numbers presented at the trials.

  1. A) First Steps in Acquiring Control of State Machinery

2] The Nazi Conspirators then set up through the Nazi Party to undermine and capture the German Government by “legal” forms supported by terrorism

(b) The Nazi conspirators asserted they only sought power only by legal forms

In September 1931, three officers of the Reichswehr were tried at Leipzig for high treason. At the request of Hans Frank, Hitler was invited to testify at this trial that the NSDAP was striving to attain its goal by purely legal means. He was asked: “How do you imagine the setting up of a Third Reich?” His reply was,” This term only describes the basis of the struggle but not the objective. We will enter the legal organizations and will make our Party a decisive factor in this way. But when we do possess constitutional rights then we will form the State in the manner which we consider to be the right one.” The President then asked: “This too by constitutional means?” Hitler replied: “Yes.” (2512-PS)

(c) The purpose of the Nazi conspirators in participating in elections and in the Reichstag was to undermine the parliamentary system of the Republic and to replace it with a dictatorship of their own.

Wilhelm Frick 1927

“Our participation in the parliament does not indicate a support, but rather an undermining of the parliamentarian system. It does not indicate that we renounce our anti-parliamentarian attitude, but that we are fighting the enemy with his own weapons and that we are fighting for our National Socialist goal from the parliamentary platform.” (2742-PS)

30 April 1928, Joseph Goebbels wrote in his paper “Der Angriff”;

We enter parliament in order to supply ourselves, in the arsenal of democracy, with its own weapons. We become members of the Reichstag in order to paralyze the Weimar sentiment with its own assistance. If democracy is so stupid as to give us free tickets and per diem for this “blockade” that is its own affair.”

Later in the same article he continued: “We do not come as friends, nor even as neutrals. We come as enemies: As the wolf bursts into the flock, so we come.” (2500-PS)

In a pamphlet published in 1935, Joseph Goebbels said:

“When democracy granted democratic methods for us in the times of opposition, this was bound to happen in a democratic system. However, we National Socialists never asserted that we represented a democratic point of view, but we have declared openly that we used democratic methods only in order to gain the power and that, after assuming the power, we would deny to our adversaries without any consideration the means which were granted to us in the times of opposition.” (2412-PS)

A leading Nazi writer on Constitutional Law, Ernst Rudolf Huber, later wrote of this period:

The parliamentary battle of the NSDAP had the single purpose of destroying the parliamentary system from within through its own methods. It was necessary above all to make formal use of the possibilities of the party-state system but to refuse real cooperation and thereby to render the parliamentary system, which is by nature dependent upon the responsible cooperation of the opposition, incapable of action.” (2633-PS)

The Nazi members of the Reichstag conducted themselves as a storm troop unit. Whenever representatives of the government or the democratic parties spoke, the Nazi members marched out in a body in studied contempt of the speaker, or entered in a body to interrupt the speaker, thus making it physically impossible for the Reichstag President to maintain order. In the case of speakers of opposition parties, the Nazi members constantly interrupted, often resorting to lengthy and spurious parliamentary maneuvers, with the result that the schedule of the session was thrown out of order. The tactics finally culminated in physical attacks by the Nazis upon members of the house as well as upon visitors. (L-83)

(NOTE: the loss of freedom to speak one’s opinions should never be condoned (CP))

(d) The Nazi conspirators supported their “legal” activities by terrorism.

Mastery of the streets was at all times the mission of the SA. (Sturmabteilungen)

Adolph Hitler stated:

What we needed and still need; were and are not a hundred or two hundred reckless conspirators, but a hundred thousand and a second hundred thousand fighters for our philosophy of life. We should not work in secret conventicles, but in mighty mass demonstrations, and it is not by dagger and poison or pistol that the road can be cleared for the movement but by the conquest of the streets. We must teach the Marxists that the future master of the streets is National Socialism, just as it will someday be the master of the state.” (404-PS)

To quote again from the official SA pamphlet:

“Possession of the streets is the key to power in the state-for this reason the SA marched and fought. The public would have never received knowledge from the agitated speeches of the little Reichstag faction and its propaganda or from the desires and aims of the Party, if the martial tread and battle song of the SA companies had not beat the measure for the truth of a relentless criticism of the state of affairs in the governmental system…….

“The SA conquered for itself a place in public opinion and the leadership of the National Socialist Movement dictated to its opponents the law for quarrels. The SA was already a state within a state; a part of the future in a sad present.”  (2168-PS)

  1. The Nazi conspirators constantly used physical violence and terror to break up meetings of political opponents, and to suppress opposition in their own meetings. The following facts are indicative of the methods constantly used by the Nazi conspirators during this period:

In Berlin, under the leadership of Goebbels, so-called Rollkommandos were organized for the purpose of disrupting political meetings of all non-Nazi groups. These Rollkommandos were charged with interrupting, making noise, and unnerving the speaker. Finally the Nazis broke up meetings by Rollkornmando raids. In many cases, fights resulted, during which furniture was destroyed and a number of persons hurt. The Nazis armed themselves with blackjacks, brass knuckles, rubber truncheons, walking sticks, and beer bottles. After the Reichstag election of 1930, Nazi terrorism became more overt, and from then on scarcely a day went by when the Chief of the Security Police in Berlin did not receive a minimum of five to ten reports, and often more, of riots instigated by Nazis. (2955-PS)

During the campaign for the Reichstag election of 14 September 1930, Nazi conspirators made it a practice to send speakers accompanied by many Storm Troopers to meetings of other political parties, often physically taking over the meetings. On one such occasion a large detachment of Storm Troopers, some of whom were armed with pistols and clubs, attended a meeting called by the Social Democratic Party, succeeded in forcibly excluding everybody not in sympathy with their views, and concluded the meeting as their own. Such violent tactics, repeated many times, were an integral part of the political creed of the Nazi. (L-83)

  1. The Nazi conspirators constantly threatened their opponents with organized reprisals and terror.

In December 1932, Frick, at that time Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Reichstag, stated to a fellow member of that committee: “Don’t worry, when we are in power we shall put all of you guys into concentration camps.”

REFERENCE

TITLE: NAZI CONSPIRACY AND AGGRESSION: Vol I (A Collection of Documentary Evidence and Guide Materials Prepared by the American and British Prosecuting Staffs for presentation before the International Military Tribunal at Nurnberg, Germany.)

CONTRIBUTOR: Cade Pomeraan

(NOTE: In today’s society  those who call for civil unrest should be aware that not all things are seen as they truly are until it is too late)

Continuity of an Ancient Religion: Britain

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE

Of the ancient religion of pre-Christian Britain there are few written records, but it is contrary to all experience that a cult should die out and leave no trace immediately on the introduction of a new religion. The so-called conversion of Britain meant the conversion of the rulers only; the mass of the people continued to follow their ancient customs and beliefs with a veneer of Christian rites. The centuries brought a deepening of Christianity which, introduced from above, gradually penetrated downwards through one class after another. During this process the laws against the practice of certain heathen rites became more strict as Christianity grew in power, the Church tried her strength against ‘witches’ in high places and was victorious, and in the fifteenth century open war was declared against the last remains of heathenism in the famous Bull of Innocent VIII.

This heathenism was practiced only in certain places and among certain classes of the community. In other places the ancient ritual was either adopted into, or tolerated by, the Church; and the Maypole dances and other rustic festivities remained as survivals of the rites of the early cult.

Whether the religion which survived as the witch cult was the same as the religion of the Druids, or whether it belonged to a still earlier stratum, is not clear. Though the descriptions of classical authors are rather too vague and scanty to settle such a point, sufficient remains to show that a fertility cult did once exist in these islands, akin to similar cults in the ancient world. Such rites would not be suppressed by the tribes who entered Great Britain after the withdrawal of the Romans; a continuance of the cult may therefore be expected among the people whom the Christian missionaries laboured to convert.

As the early historical records of these islands were made by Christian ecclesiastics, allowance must be made for the religious bias of the writers, which caused them to make Christianity appear as the only religion existing at the time. But though the historical records are silent on the subject the laws and enactments of the different communities, whether lay or ecclesiastical, retain very definite evidence of the continuance of the ancient cults.

In this connection the dates of the conversion of England are instructive. The following table gives the principal dates:
597-604. Augustine’s mission. London still heathen. Conversion of Æthelbert, King of Kent. After Æthelbert’s death Christianity suffered a reverse.
604. Conversion of the King of the East Saxons, whose successor lapsed.
627. Conversion of the King of Northumbria.
628. Conversion of the King of East Anglia.
631-651. Aidan’s missions.
635. Conversion of the King of Wessex.
653. Conversion of the King of Mercia.
654. Re-conversion of the King of the East Saxons.
681. Conversion of the King of the South Saxons.

An influx of heathenism occurred on two later occasions: in the ninth century there was an invasion by the heathen Danes under Guthrum; and in the eleventh century the heathen king Cnut led his hordes to victory. As in the case of the Saxon kings of the seventh century, Guthrum and Cnut were converted and the tribes followed their leaders’ example, professed Christianity, and were baptized.

But it cannot be imagined that these wholesale conversions were more than nominal in most cases, though the king’s religion was outwardly the tribe’s religion. If, as happened among the East Saxons, the king forsook his old gods, returned to them again, and finally forsook them altogether, the tribe followed his lead, and, in public at least, worshipped Christ, Odin, or any other deity whom the king favoured for the moment; but there can be hardly any doubt that in private the mass of the people adhered to the old religion to which they were accustomed. This tribal conversion is clearly marked when a heathen king married a Christian queen, or vice versa; and it must also be noted that a king never changed his religion without careful consultation with his chief men. [Hunt, vol. i] An example of the two religions existing side by side is found in the account of Redwald, King of the East Saxons, who ‘in the same temple had an altar to sacrifice to Christ, and another small one to offer victims to devils’.[Bede, Bk. II, ch. xv]

The continuity of the ancient religion is proved by the references to it in the classical authors, the ecclesiastical laws, and other legal and historical records.

1st century Strabo 63 B.C.-A.D. 23; ‘In an island close to Britain, Demeter and Persephone are venerated with rites similar to the orgies of Samothrace.'[Strabo, “Geography”, Bk. IV, c. iv, 6]

4th century Dionysius says that in islands near Jersey and Guernsey the rites of Bacchus were performed by the women, crowned with leaves; they danced and made an even greater shouting than the Thracians. [Dionysius, “Periegetes” ll. 1120-5]

7th century Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, 668-690; The “Liber Poenitentialis” [Thorpe, ii, pp. 32-4] of Theodore contains the earliest ecclesiastical laws of England. It consists of a list of offences and the penance due for each offence; one whole section is occupied with details of the ancient religion and of its rites. Such are: Sacrifice to devils. Eating and drinking in a heathen temple, “a” in ignorance, “b” after being told by the [Christian] priest that it is sacrilege and the table of devils, “c” as a cult of idols and in honour of idols. ‘Not only celebrating feasts in the abominable places of the heathen and offering food there, but also consuming it. Serving this hidden idolatry having relinquished Christ. If anyone at the kalends of January goes about as a stag or a bull; that is, making himself into a wild animal and dressing in the skin of a herd animal, and putting on the heads of beasts; those who in such wise transform themselves into the appearance of a wild animal, penance for three years because this is devilish.’

“The Laws of Wihtraed”, King of Kent, [ Thorpe, i, p. 41] 690. Fines inflicted on those who offer to devils.

8th century “The Confessionale and Poenitentiale of Ecgberht”, first Archbishop of York,[ Id., ii, p. 157 seq.] 734-766. Prohibition of offerings to devils; of witchcraft; of auguries according to the methods of the heathen; of vows paid, loosed, or confirmed at wells, stones, or trees; of the gathering of herbs with any incantation except Christian prayers.

“The Law of the Northumbrian priests.” [Id., ii, pp. 299, 303] ‘If then anyone be found that shall henceforth practise any heathenship, either by sacrifice or by “fyrt”, or in any way love witchcraft, or worship idols, if he be a king’s thane, let him pay X half-marks; half to Christ, half to the king. We are all to love and worship one God, and strictly hold one Christianity, and totally renounce all heathenship.’

9th century “Decree attributed to a General Council of Ancyra.”[Scot, p. 66.–Lea, iii, p. 493] ‘Certain wicked women, reverting to Satan, and seduced by the illusions and phantasms of demons, believe and profess that they ride at night with Diana on certain beasts, with an innumerable multitude of women, passing over immense distances, obeying her commands astheir mistress, and evoked by her on certain nights.’

10th century “Laws of Edward and Guthrum.”[ Thorpe, i, p. 169] After 901. ‘If anyone violate christianity, or reverence heathenism, by word or by work, let him pay as well “wer”, as “wite” or “lah-slit”, according as the deed may be.’

Laws of King Athelstan [Id., i, p. 203] 924-940. ‘We have ordained respecting witchcrafts, and “lyblacs”, and “morthdaeds”: if anyone should be thereby killed, and he could not deny it, that he be liable in his life. But if he will deny it, and at the threefold ordeal shall be guilty; that he be cxx days in prison.’

Ecclesiastical canons of King Edgar,[ Id., ii, p. 249] 959. ‘We enjoin, that every priest zealously promote Christianity, and totally extinguish every heathenism; and forbid well worshipings, and necromancies, and divinations, and enchantments, and man worshipings, and the vain practices which are carried on with various spells, and with “frithsplots”,[Frith = brushwood, splot = plot of ground; sometimes used for ‘splotch, splash’] and with elders, and also with various other trees, and with stones, and with many various delusions, with which men do much of what they should not.–And we enjoin, that every Christian man zealously accustom his children to Christianity, and teach them the Paternoster and the Creed. And we enjoin, that on feast days heathen songs and devil’s games be abstained from.’

Laws of King Ethelred [Thorpe, i, pp. 311, 323, 351] 978-1016. ‘Let every Christian man do as is needful to him; let him strictly keep his Christianity…. Let us zealously venerate right Christianity, and totally despise every heathenism.’

11th century Laws of King Cnut [Id., i, p. 379] 1017-1035. ‘We earnestly forbid every heathenism: heathenism is, that men worship idols; that is, that they worship heathen gods, and the sun or the moon, fire or rivers, water-wells or stones, or forest trees of any kind; or love witchcraft, or promote “morth-work” in any wise.’

13th century Witchcraft made into a sect and heresy by the Church. The priest of Inverkeithing presented before the bishop in 1282 for leading a fertility dance at Easter round the phallic figure of a god; he was allowed to retain his benefice.[ “Chronicles of Lanercost”, p. 109, ed. Stevenson]

14th century In 1303 the Bishop of Coventry was accused before the Pope for doing homage to the Devil.[Rymer, ii, 934]

Trial of Dame Alice Kyteler 1324.Tried for both operative and ritual witchcraft, and found guilty.

Nider’s Formicarius 1337. A detailed account of witches and their proceedings in Berne, which had been infested by them for more than sixty years.

15th century Joan of Arc burnt as a witch, 1431.

Gilles de Rais executed as a witch, 1440.

“Bernardo di Bosco”, 1457. Sent by Pope Calixtus III to suppress the witches in Brescia and its neighbourhood.

“Bull of Pope Innocent VIII”, 1484.
‘It has come to our ears that numbers of both sexes do not avoid to have intercourse with demons, Incubi and Succubi; and that by their sorceries, and by their incantations, charms, and conjurations, they suffocate, extinguish, and cause to perish the births of women, the increase of animals, the corn of the ground, the grapes of the vineyard and the fruit of the trees, as well as men, women, flocks, herds, and other various kinds of animals, vines and apple trees, grass, corn and other fruits of the earth; making and procuring that men and women, flocks and herds and other animals shall suffer and be tormented both from within and without, so that men beget not, nor women conceive; and they impede the conjugal action of men and women.’

It will be seen by the foregoing that so far from the Bull of Pope Innocent VIII being the beginning of the ‘outbreak of witchcraft’, as so many modern writers consider, it is only one of many ordinances against the practices of an earlier cult. It takes no account of the effect of these practices on the morals of the people who believed in them, but lays stress only on their power over fertility; the fertility of human beings, animals, and crops. In short it is exactly the pronouncement which one would expect from a Christian against a heathen form of religion in which the worship of a god of fertility was the central idea. It shows therefore that the witches were considered to deal with fertility only.

Looked upon in the light of a fertility cult, the ritual of the witches becomes comprehensible. Originally for the promotion of fertility, it became gradually degraded into a method for blasting fertility, and thus the witches who had been once the means of bringing prosperity to the people and the land by driving out all evil influences, in process of time were looked upon as being themselves the evil influences, and were held in horror accordingly.

The actual feelings of the witches towards their religion have been recorded in very few cases, but they can be inferred from the few records which remain. The earliest example is from Lorraine in 1408, ‘lequel mefait les susdites dames disoient et confessoient avoir endure a leur contentement et saoulement de plaisir que n’avoient eu onc de leur vie en tel pourchas’.[ Bournon, p. 23] De Lancre took a certain amount of trouble to obtain the opinions of the witches, whereby he was obviously scandalized. Bodin says, ‘Il y en a d’autres, ausquelles Satan promet qu’elles seront bien heureuses apres cette vie, qui empesche qu’elles ne se repentent, & meurent obstinees en leur mechancete’.[ Bodin, “Fleau”, p. 373]

Madame de Bourignon’s girls at Lille (1661) ‘had not the least design of changing, to quit these abominable Pleasures, as one of them of Twenty-two Years old one day told me. “No”, said she, “I will not be other than I am; I find too much content in my Condition”.'[Bourignon, “Parole”, p. 87.–Hale, p. 27] Though the English and Scotch witches’ opinions are not reported, it is clear from the evidence that they were the same as those of the Basses-Pyrenees, for not only did they join of their own free will but in many cases there seems to have been no need of persuasion. In a great number of trials, when the witches acknowledged that they had been asked to become members of the society, there follows an expression of this sort, ‘ye freely and willingly accepted and granted thereto’. And that they held to their god as firmly as those de Lancre put to death is equally evident in view of the North Berwick witches, of Rebecca West and Rose Hallybread, who ‘dyed very Stuburn, and Refractory without any Remorss, or seeming Terror of Conscience for their abominable Witch-craft’;[ “Full Tryals of Notorious Witches”, p. 8] Major Weir, who perished as a witch, renouncing all hope of heaven;[ “Records of the Justiciary Court of Edinburgh”, ii, p. 14.-Arnot, p. 359] and the Northampton witches, Agnes Browne and her daughter, who ‘were never heard to pray, or to call uppon God, never asking pardon for their offences either of God or the world in this their dangerous, and desperate Resolution, dyed’; Elinor Shaw and Mary Phillips, at their execution ‘being desired to say their Prayers, they both set up a very loud Laughter, calling for the Devil to come and help them in such a Blasphemous manner, as is not fit to Mention; so that the Sherif seeing their presumptious Impenitence, caused them to be Executed with all the Expedition possible; even while they were Cursing and raving, and as they liv’d the Devils true Factors, so they resolutely Dyed in his Service’: the rest of the Coven also died ‘without any confession or contrition’.[ “Witches of Northamptonshire”, p. 8]

REFERENCE
Title: The Witch-cult in Western Europe a Study in Anthropology (1922)
BY: Margaret Alice Murray
CONTRIBUTOR: Jenny Dunnaway

Cybele: The Great Mother

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE

 

The first Oriental religion adopted by the Romans was that of the goddess of Phrygia, whom the people of Pessinus and Mount Ida worshiped, and who received the name of “Magna Mater deum Idea” in the Occident. Its history in Italy covers six centuries, and we can trace each phase of the transformation that changed it in the course of time from a collection of very primitive nature beliefs into a system of spiritualized mysteries used by some as a weapon against Christianity. We shall now endeavor to outline the successive phases of that slow metamorphosis.

This religion is the only one whose success in the Latin world was caused originally by a mere chance circumstance. In 205 B. C, when Hannibal, vanquished but still threatening, made his last stand in the mountains of Bruttium, repeated torrents of stones frightened the Roman people. When the books were officially consulted in regard to this prodigy they promised that the enemy would be driven from Italy if the Great Mother of Ida could be brought to Rome. Nobody but the Sibyls themselves had the power of averting the evils prophesied by them. They had come to Italy from Asia Minor, and in this critical situation their sacred poem recommended the practice of their native religion as a remedy. In token of his friendship, King Attalus presented the ambassadors of the senate with the black aerolite, supposed to be the abode of the goddess that this ruler had shortly before transferred from Pessinus to Pergamum. According to the mandate of the oracle the stone was received at Ostia by the best citizen of the land, an honor accorded to Scipio Nasica–and carried by the most esteemed matrons to the Palatine, where, hailed by the cheers of the multitude and surrounded by fumes of incense, it was solemnly installed (Nones of April, 204). This triumphal entry was later glorified by marvelous legends, and the poets told of edifying miracles that had occurred during Cybele’s voyage. In the same year Scipio transferred the seat of war to Africa, and Hannibal, compelled to meet him there, was beaten at Zama. The prediction of the Sybils had come true and Rome was rid of the long Punic terror. The foreign goddess was honored in recognition of the service she had rendered. A temple was erected to her on the summit of the Palatine, and every year a celebration enhanced by scenic plays, the “ludi Megalenses”, commemorated the date of dedication of the sanctuary and the arrival of the goddess (April 4th-10th).

What was this Asiatic religion that had suddenly been transferred into the heart of Rome by an extraordinary circumstance? Even then it could look back upon a long period of development. It combined beliefs of various origins. It contained primitive usages of the religion of Anatolia, some of which have survived to this day in spite of Christianity and Islam. Like the Kizil-Bash peasants of to-day, the ancient inhabitants of the peninsula met on the summits of mountains covered with woods no ax had desecrated, and celebrated their festal days. They believed that Cybele resided on the high summits of Ida and Berecyntus, and the perennial pines, in conjunction with the prolific and early maturing almond tree, were the sacred trees of Attis. Besides trees, the country people worshiped stones, rocks or meteors that had fallen from the sky like the one taken from Pessinus to Pergamum and thence to Rome. They also venerated certain animals, especially the most powerful of them all, the lion who may at one time have been the totem of savage tribes. In mythology as well as in art the lion remained the riding or driving animal of the Great Mother.

Their conception of the divinity was indistinct and impersonal. A goddess of the earth, called Ma or Cybele, was revered as the fecund (Fertile) mother of all things, the “mistress of the wild beasts” that inhabit the woods. A god Attis, or Papas, was regarded as her husband, but the first place in this divine household belonged to the woman, a reminiscence of the period of matriarchy.

When the Phrygians at a very early period came from Thrace and inserted themselves like a wedge in the old Anatolian races, they adopted the vague deities of their new country by identifying them with their own, after the habit of pagan nations. Thus Attis became one with the Dionysus-Sabazius of the conquerors, or at least assumed some of his characteristics. This Thracian Dionysus was a god of vegetation. Foucart has thus admirably pictured his savage nature: “Wooded summits, deep oak and pine forests, ivy-clad caverns were at all times his favorite haunts. Mortals who were anxious to know the powerful divinity ruling these solitudes had to observe the life of his kingdom, and to guess the god’s nature from the phenomena through which he manifested his power. Seeing the creeks descend in noisy foaming cascades, or hearing the roaring of steers in the uplands and the strange sounds of the wind-beaten forests, the Thracians thought they heard the voice and the calls of the lord of that empire, and imagined a god who was fond of extravagant leaps and of wild roaming over the wooded mountains. This conception inspired their religion, for the surest way for mortals to ingratiate themselves with a divinity was to imitate him, and as far as possible to make their lives resemble his. For this reason the Thracians endeavored to attain the divine delirium that transported their Dionysus, and hoped to realize their purpose by following their invisible yet ever-present lord in his chase over the mountains.

In the Phrygian religion we find the same beliefs and rites, scarcely modified at all, with the one difference that Attis, the god of vegetation, was united to the goddess of the earth instead of living “in sullen loneliness.” When the tempest was beating the forests of the Berecyntus or Ida, it was Cybele traveling about in her car drawn by roaring lions mourning her lover’s death. A crowd of worshipers followed her through woods and thickets, mingling their shouts with the shrill sound of flutes, with the dull beat of tambourines, with the rattling of castanets and the dissonance of brass cymbals. Intoxicated with shouting and with uproar of the instruments, excited by their impetuous advance, breathless and panting, they surrendered to the raptures of a sacred enthusiasm. Catullus has left us a dramatic description of this divine ecstasy.

The religion of Phrygia was perhaps even more violent than that of Thrace. The climate of the Anatolian uplands is one of extremes. Its winters are rough, long and cold; the spring rains suddenly develop a vigorous vegetation that is scorched by the hot summer sun. The abrupt contrasts of a nature generous and sterile, radiant and bleak in turn, caused excesses of sadness and joy that were unknown in temperate and smiling regions, where the ground was never buried under snow nor scorched by the sun. The Phrygians mourned the long agony and death of the vegetation, but when the verdure reappeared in March they surrendered to the excitement of a tumultuous joy. In Asia savage rites that had been unknown in Thrace or practiced in milder form expressed the vehemence of those opposing feelings. In the midst of their orgies, and after wild dances, some of the worshipers voluntarily wounded themselves and, becoming intoxicated with the view of the blood, with which they besprinkled their altars, they believed they were uniting themselves with their divinity. Or else, arriving at a paroxysm of frenzy, they sacrificed their virility to the gods as certain Russian dissenters still do to-day. These men became priests of Cybele and were called Galli. Violent ecstasies was always an endemic disease in Phrygia. As late as the Antonines, montanist [Montanus] prophets that arose in that country attempted to introduce it into Christianity.

…The sacred ecstasy, …and a fervent desire to free the soul from the bonds of matter. The ascetic tendencies went so far as to create a kind of begging monachism–the “metragyrtes”. They also harmonized with some of the ideas of renunciation taught by Greek philosophy, and at an early period Hellenic theologians took an interest in this devotion that attracted and repelled them at the same time. Timotheus the Eumolpid, who was one of the founders of the Alexandrian religion of Serapis, derived the inspiration for his essays on religious reform, among other sources, from the ancient Phrygian myths. Those thinkers undoubtedly succeeded in making the priests of Pessinus themselves admit many speculations quite foreign to the old Anatolian nature worship. The votaries of Cybele began at a very remote period to practice “mysteries” in which the initiates were made acquainted, by degrees, with a wisdom that was always considered divine, but underwent peculiar variations in the course of time.

A BLESSED MOTHERS DAY TO ALL

REFERENCE:

TITLE: The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism (1911)

BY: Franz Cumont

CONTRIBUTOR: Jenny Dunnaway

Magical Text and Spells: Egyptian

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE

 

The magical and religious texts of the Egyptians of all periods contain spells intended to be used against serpents, scorpions, and noxious reptiles of all kinds, and their number, and the importance which was attached to them, suggest that Egypt must always have produced these pests in abundance, and that the Egyptians were always horribly afraid of them.  The text of Unas, which was written towards the close of the V Dynasty, contains many such spells, and in the Theban and Saite Books of the Dead several Chapters consist of nothing but spells and incantations, many of which are based on archaic texts, against crocodiles, serpents, and other deadly reptiles, and insects of all kinds.  All such creatures were regarded as incarnations of evil spirits, which attack the dead as well as the living, and therefore it was necessary for the well-being of the former that copies of spells against them should be written upon the walls of tombs, coffins, funerary amulets, etc.  The gods were just as open to the attacks of venomous reptiles as man, and Ra, himself, the king of the gods, nearly died from the poison of a snake-bite.  Now the gods were, as a rule, able to defend themselves against the attacks of Set and his fiends, and the poisonous snakes and insects which were their emissaries, by virtue of the fluid of life, which was the peculiar attribute of divinity, and the efforts of Egyptians were directed to the acquisition of a portion of this magical power, which would protect their souls and bodies and their houses and cattle, and other property, each day and each night throughout the year.  When a man cared for the protection of himself only he wore an amulet of some kind, in which the fluid of life was localized. When he wished to protect his house against invasion by venomous reptiles he placed statues containing the fluid of life in niches in the walls of various chambers, or in some place outside but near the house, or buried them in the earth with their faces turned in the direction from which he expected the attack to come.

Towards the close of the XXVI Dynasty, when superstition in its most exaggerated form was general in Egypt, it became the custom to make house talismans in the form of small stone stelae, with rounded tops, which rested on bases having convex fronts.  On the front of such a talisman was sculptured in relief a figure of Horus the Child (Harpokrates), standing on two crocodiles, holding in his hands figures of serpents, scorpions, a lion, and a horned animal, each of these being a symbol of an emissary or ally of Set, the god of Evil.  Above his head was the head of Bes, and on each side of him were: solar symbols, i.e., the lily of Nefer-Tem, figures of Ra and Harmakhis, the Eyes of Ra (the Sun and Moon), etc.  The reverse of the stele and the whole of the base were covered with magical texts and spells, and when a talisman of this kind was placed in a house, it was supposed to be directly under the protection of Horus and his companion gods, who had vanquished all the hosts of darkness and all the powers of physical and moral evil.  Many examples of this talisman are to be seen in the great Museums of Europe, and there are several fine specimens in the Third Egyptian Room in the British Museum.  They are usually called “Cippi of Horus.”  The largest and most important of all these “cippi” is that which is commonly known as the “Metternich Stele,” because it was given to Prince Metternich by Muhammad  Ali Pasha; it was dug up in 1828 during the building of a cistern in a Franciscan Monastery in Alexandria, and was first published, with a translation of a large part of the text, by Professor Golenischeff.[ See Metternichstele, Leipzig, 1877.  The Stele was made for Ankh-Psemthek, son of the lady Tent-Het-nub, prophet of Nebun, overseer of Temt and scribe of Het]   The importance of the stele is enhanced by the fact that it mentions the name of the king in whose reign it was made, viz., Nectanebus I., who reigned from B.C. 378 to B.C. 360.

The obverse, reverse, and two sides of the Metternich Stele have cut upon them nearly three hundred figures of gods and celestial beings. These include figures of the great gods of heaven, earth, and the Other World, figures of the gods of the planets and the Dekans, figures of the gods of the days of the week, of the weeks, and months, and seasons of the year, and of the year.  Besides these there are a number of figures of local forms of the gods which it is difficult to identify.

On the rounded portion of the obverse the place of honour is held by the solar disk, in which is seen a figure of Khnemu with four ram’s heads, which rests between a pair of arms, and is supported on a lake of celestial water; on each side of it are four of the spirits of the dawn, and on the right stands the symbol of the rising sun, Nefer-Temu, and on the left stands Thoth.  Below this are five rows of small figures of gods.  Below these is Harpokrates in relief, in the attitude already described.  He stands on two crocodiles under a kind of canopy, the sides of which are supported by Thoth and Isis, and holds Typhonic animals and reptiles.  Above the canopy are the two Eyes of Ra, each having a pair of human arms and hands.  On the right of Harpokrates are Seker and Horus, and on his left the symbol of Nefer-Temu.  On the left and right are the goddesses Nekhebet and Uatchet, who guard the South of Egypt and the North respectively.  On the reverse and sides are numerous small figures of gods.  This stele represented the power to protect man possessed by all the divine beings in the universe, and, however it was placed, it formed an impassable barrier to every spirit of evil and to every venomous reptile.  The spells, which are cut in hieroglyphics on all the parts of the stele not occupied by figures of gods, were of the most potent character, for they contained the actual words by which the gods vanquished the powers of darkness and evil. These spells form the texts which are printed on p. 142 ff., and may be thus summarized:

(1)The first spell is an incantation directed against reptiles and noxious creatures in general.  The chief of these was Apep, the great enemy of Ra, who took the form of a huge serpent that “resembled the intestines,” and the spell doomed him to decapitation, and burning and backing in pieces.  These things would be effected by Serqet, the Scorpion-goddess.  The second part of the spell was directed against the poison of Apep, and was to be recited over anyone who was bitten by a snake.  When uttered by Horus it made Apep to vomit, and when used by a magician properly qualified would make the bitten person to vomit, and so free his body from the poison.

(2)The next spell is directed to be said to the Cat, i.e., a symbol of the daughter of Ra, or Isis, who had the head of Ra, the eyes of the uraeus, the nose of Thoth, the ears of Neb-er-tcher, the mouth of Tem, the neck of Neheb-ka, the breast of Thoth, the heart of Ra, the hands of the gods, the belly of Osiris, the thighs of Menthu, the legs of Khensu, the feet of Amen-Horus, the haunches of Horus, the soles of the feet of Ra, and the bowels of Meh-urit.  Every member of the Cat contained a god or goddess, and she was able to destroy the poison of any serpent, or scorpion, or reptile, which might be injected into her body.  The spell opens with an address to Ra, who is entreated to come to his daughter, who has been stung by a scorpion on a lonely road, and to cause the poison to leave her body.  Thus it seems as if Isis, the great magician, was at some time stung by a scorpion.

(3)The next section is very difficult to understand.  Ra-Harmakhis is called upon to come to his daughter, and Shu to his wife, and Isis to her sister, who has been poisoned.  Then the Aged One, i.e., Ra, is asked to let Thoth turn back Neha-her, or Set.  “Osiris is in the water, but Horus is with him, and the Great Beetle overshadows him,” and every evil spirit which dwells in the water is adjured to allow Horus to proceed to Osiris.  Ra, Sekhet, Thoth, and Heka, this last-named being the spell personified, are the four great gods who protect Osiris, and who will blind and choke his enemies, and cut out their tongues.  The cry of the Cat is again referred to, and Ra is asked if he does not remember the cry which came from the bank of Netit.  The allusion here is to the cries which Isis uttered when she arrived at Netit near Abydos, and found lying there the dead body of her husband.

 At this point on the Stele the spells are interrupted by a long narrative put into the mouth of Isis, which supplies us with some account of the troubles that she suffered, and describes the death of Horus through the sting of a scorpion.  Isis, it seems, was shut up in some dwelling by Set after he murdered Osiris, probably with the intention of forcing her to marry him, and so assist him to legalize his seizure of the kingdom.  Isis, as we have already seen, had been made pregnant by her husband after his death, and Thoth now appeared to her, and advised her to hide herself with her unborn child, and to bring him forth in secret, and he promised her that her son should succeed in due course to his father’s throne.  With the help of Thoth she escaped from her captivity, and went forth accompanied by the Seven Scorpion-goddesses, who brought her to the town of Per-Sui, on the edge of the Reed Swamps.  She applied to a woman for a night’s shelter, but the woman shut her door in her face.  To punish her one of the Scorpion-goddesses forced her way into the woman’s house, and stung her child to death.  The grief of the woman was so bitter and sympathy-compelling that Isis laid her hands on the child, and, having uttered one of her most potent spells over him, the poison of the scorpion ran out of his body, and the child came to life again.  The words of the spell are cut on the Stele, and they were treasured by the Egyptians as an infallible remedy for scorpion stings.  When the woman saw that her son had been brought back to life by Isis, she was filled with joy and gratitude, and, as a mark of her repentance, she brought large quantities of things from her house as gifts for Isis, and they were so many that they filled the house of the kind, but poor, woman who had given Isis shelter.

Now soon after Isis had restored to life the son of the woman who had shown churlishness to her, a terrible calamity fell upon her, for her beloved son Horus was stung by a scorpion and died. The news of this event was conveyed to her by the gods, who cried out to her to come to see her son Horus, whom the terrible scorpion Uhat had killed. Isis, stabbed with pain at the news, as if a knife had been driven into her body, ran out distraught with grief.  It seems that she had gone to perform a religious ceremony in honour of Osiris in a temple near Hetep-hemt, leaving her child carefully concealed in Sekhet-An. During her absence the scorpion Uhat, which had been sent by Set, forced its way into the biding-place of Horus, and there stung him to death.  When Isis came and found the dead body, she burst forth in lamentations, the sound of which brought all the people from the neighbouring districts to her side.  As she related to them the history of her sufferings they endeavoured to console her, and when they found this to be impossible they lifted up their voices and wept with her. Then Isis placed her nose in the mouth of Horus so that she might discover if he still breathed, but there was no breath in his throat; and when she examined the wound in his body made by the fiend Aun-Ab she saw in it traces of poison.  No doubt about his death then remained in her mind, and clasping him in her arms she lifted him up, and in her transports of grief leaped about like fish when they are laid on red-hot coals. Then she uttered a series of heartbreaking laments, each of which begins with the words “Horus is bitten.”  The heir of heaven, the son of Un-Nefer, the child of the gods, he who was wholly fair, is bitten!  He for whose wants I provided, he who was to avenge his father, is bitten! He for whom I cared and suffered when he was being fashioned in my womb, is bitten!  He whom I tended so that I might gaze upon him, is bitten!  He whose life I prayed for is bitten!  Calamity hath overtaken the child, and he hath perished.

Whilst Isis was saying these and many similar words, her sister Nephthys, who had been weeping bitterly for her nephew Horus as she wandered about among the swamps, came, in company with the Scorpion- goddess Serqet, and advised Isis to pray to heaven for help. Pray that the sailors in the Boat of Ra may cease from rowing, for the Boat cannot travel onwards whilst Horus lies dead.  Then Isis cried out to heaven, and her voice reached the Boat of Millions of Years, and the Disk ceased to move onward, and came to a standstill.  From the Boat Thoth descended, being equipped with words of power and spells of all kinds, and bearing with him the “great command of maa-kheru,” i.e., the WORD, whose commands were performed, instantly and completely, by every god, spirit, fiend, human being and by everything, animate and inanimate, in heaven, earth, and the Other World.  Then he came to Isis and told her that no harm could possibly have happened to Horus, for he was under the protection of the Boat of Ra; but his words failed to comfort Isis, and though she acknowledged the greatness of his designs she complained that they savoured of delay.  “What is the good,” she asks, “of all thy spells, and incantations, and magical formulae, and the great command of maa-kheru, if Horus is to perish by the poison of a scorpion, and to lie here in the arms of Death?  Evil, evil is his destiny, for it hath entailed the deepest misery for him and death.”

In answer to these words Thoth, turning to Isis and Nephthys, bade them to fear not, and to have no anxiety about Horus, “For,” said he, “I have come from heaven to heal the child for his mother.”  He then pointed out that Horus was under protection as the Dweller in his Disk (Aten), the Great Dwarf, the Mighty Ram, the Great Hawk, the Holy Beetle, the Hidden Body, the Divine Bennu, etc., and proceeded to utter the great spell which restored Horus to life.  By his words of power Thoth transferred the fluid of life of Ra, and as soon as this came upon the child’s body the poison of the scorpion flowed out of him, and he once more breathed and lived. When this was done Thoth returned to the Boat of Ra, the gods who formed its crew resumed their rowing, and the Disk passed on its way to make its daily journey across the sky.

The gods in heaven, who were amazed and uttered cries of terror when they heard of the death of Horus, were made happy once more, and sang songs of joy over his recovery.  The happiness of Isis in her child’s restoration to life was very great for she could again hope that he would avenge his father’s murder, and occupy his throne. The final words of Thoth comforted her greatly, for he told her that he would take charge of the case of Horus in the Judgment Hall of Anu, wherein Osiris had been judged, and that as his advocate he would make any accusations which might be brought against Horus to recoil on him that brought them.  Furthermore, he would give Horus power to repulse any attacks which might be made upon him by beings in the heights above, or fiends in the depths below, and would ensure his succession to the Throne of the Two Lands, i.e., Egypt.  Thoth also promised Isis that Ra himself should act as the advocate of Horus, even as he had done for his father Osiris.  He was also careful to allude to the share which

Isis had taken in the restoration of Horus to life, saying, “It is the words of power of his mother which have lifted up his face, and they shall enable him to journey where so ever he pleaseth, and to put fear into the powers above.  I myself hasten [to obey them].”  Thus everything turned on the power of the spells of Isis, who made the sun to stand still, and caused the dead to be raised.

Such are the contents of the texts on the famous Metternich Stele. There appears to be some confusion in their arrangement, and some of them clearly are misplaced, and, in places, the text is manifestly corrupt. It is impossible to explain several passages, for we do not understand all the details of the system of magic which they represent. Still, the general meaning of the texts on the Stele is quite clear, and they record a legend of Isis and Horus which is not found so fully described on any other monument.

REFERENCE:

TITLE: Legends of the Gods (1912)

BY: E. A. Wallis Budge

CONTRIBUTOR: Cade Pomeraan

News Media and National Policy Making

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE

 

Is it just me or is there a trend in the news media to elevate themselves into being the ultimate verdict of all national policies. That being said, I mean it seems to me that no matter what the issue is; the media has to have a opinioned say, and that say should be considered a golden fact by the uneducated masses. Instead of presenting the issue in a unbiased format to inform the public (which seems to elude the programmers); which is not only in the headlines, but in the delivery of the information slanted as they themselves see it. We are expected to take all this closed lipped and accept their logic. If they approve then we should, if they don’t approve then it should be changed. We are expected to disavow the governmental agencies to wit we are dependent upon for the making of such decisions, and go with the press version. So here is the question I suppose is needed to answered, what gives them the right to decide national policies? They are a news platform which should inform us of the every day goings on in the world, not formulate decision making platforms. Just inform us of the happening and let us make the decisions. OK, OK, I understand you make the mega bucks and your heads are in the clouds and perhaps you do converse with the gods, but give us a break let us decide.

Most News media including the foreign press (not all) seem to have fallen into the American mode of reporting on how they perceive the facts, forgetting their basic ideals of; presenting the facts, presenting the NEWS truthfully as it is and not making a reality programme for the presenters wellbeing , in a ratings effort. From what has been reported in the news of late, in stories pertaining to the news presenters, showed me just how really base they are, no greater than any other human on this earth. Same flaws, same weaknesses as all of us. But to those that walk amongst the clouds, they still don’t get it that they are one of us also.

Thank you for taking the time to read this

CONTRIBUTOR: Eddy Toorall

Doorways to the Books of the Dead: Egyptian

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE

“Book of the Dead” is the title now commonly given to the great collection of funerary texts which the ancient Egyptian scribes composed for the benefit of the dead. These consist of spells and incantations, hymns and litanies, magical formulae and names, words of power and prayers, and they are found cut or painted on walls of pyramids and tombs, and painted on coffins and sarcophagi and rolls of papyri. The title “Book of the Dead” is somewhat unsatisfactory and misleading, for the texts neither form a connected work nor belong to one period; they are miscellaneous in character, and tell us nothing about the lives and works of the dead with whom they were buried. Moreover, the Egyptians possessed many funerary works that might rightly be called “Books of the Dead,” but none of them bore a name that could be translated by the title “Book of the Dead.” This title was given to the great collection of funerary texts in the first quarter of the nineteenth century by the pioneer Egyptologists, who possessed no exact knowledge of their contents. They were familiar with the rolls of papyrus inscribed in the hieroglyphic and the hieratic character, for copies of several had been published, [See Journal de Trévoux, June, 1704; Caylus, Antiq. Egypt., tom. I, plate 21; Denon, Travels, plates 136 and 137; and Description de l’Égypte, tom. II, plate 64 ff] but the texts in them were short and fragmentary. The publication of the Facsimile [Copie Figurée d’un Rouleau de Papyrus trouvé à Thèbes dans un tombeau des Rois. Paris, XIII-1805. This papyrus is nearly 30 feet in length and was brought to Strassburg by a paymaster in Napoleon’s Army in Egypt called Poussielgue, who sold it to M. Cadet.] of the Papyrus of Peta-Amen-neb-nest-taui [Hieroglyphs] by M. Cadet in 1805 made a long hieroglyphic text and numerous coloured vignettes available for study, and the French Egyptologists described it as a copy of the “Rituel Funéraire” of the ancient Egyptians. Among these was Champollion le Jeune, but later, on his return from Egypt, he and others called it “Le Livre des Morts,” “The Book of the Dead,” “Das Todtenbuch,” etc. These titles are merely translations of the name given by the Egyptian tomb-robbers to every roll of inscribed papyrus which they found with mummies, namely, “Kitâb-al-Mayyit,” “Book of the dead man,” or “Kitâb al-Mayyitun,” “Book of the dead” (plur.). These men knew nothing of the contents of such a roll, and all they meant to say was that it was “a dead man’s book,” and that it was found in his coffin with him.

The Preservation of the Mummified Body in the Tomb by Thoth.

The objects found in the graves of the pre-dynastic Egyptians, i.e., vessels of food, flint knives and other weapons, etc., prove that these early dwellers in the Nile Valley believed in some kind of a future existence. But as the art of writing was, unknown to them their graves contain no inscriptions, and we can only infer from texts of the dynastic period what their ideas about the Other World were. It is clear that they did not consider it of great importance to preserve the dead body in as complete and perfect state as possible, for in many of their graves the heads, hands and feet have been found severed from the trunks and lying at some distance from them. On the other hand, the dynastic Egyptians, either as the result of a difference in religious belief, or under the influence of invaders who had settled in their country, attached supreme importance to the preservation and integrity of the dead body, and they adopted every means known to them to prevent its dismemberment and decay. They cleansed it and embalmed it with drugs, spices and balsams; they anointed it with aromatic oils and preservative fluids; they swathed it in hundreds of yards of linen bandages; and then they sealed it up in a coffin or sarcophagus, which they laid in a chamber hewn in the bowels of the mountain. All these things were done to protect the physical body against damp, dry rot and decay, and against the attacks of moth, beetles, worms and wild animals. But these were not the only enemies of the dead against which precautions had to be taken, for both the mummified body and the spiritual elements which had inhabited it upon earth had to be protected from a multitude of devils and fiends, and from the powers of darkness generally. These powers of evil had hideous and terrifying shapes and forms, and their haunts were well known, for they infested the region through which the road of the dead lay when passing from this world to the Kingdom of Osiris. The “great gods” were afraid of them, and were obliged to protect themselves by the use of spells and magical names, and words of power, which were composed and written down by Thoth. In fact it was believed in very early times in Egypt that Ra the Sun-god owed his continued existence to the possession of a secret name with which Thoth had provided him. And each morning the rising sun was menaced by a fearful monster called Aapep, which lay hidden under the place of sunrise waiting to swallow up the solar disk. It was impossible, even for the Sun-god, to destroy this “Great Devil,” but by reciting each morning the powerful spell with which Thoth had provided him he was able to paralyze all Aapep’s limbs and to rise upon this world. Since then the “great gods,” even though benevolently disposed towards them, were not able to deliver the dead from the devils that lived upon the “bodies, souls, spirits, shadows and hearts of the dead,” the Egyptians decided to invoke the aid of Thoth on behalf of their dead and to place them under the protection of his almighty spells. Inspired by Thoth the theologians of ancient Egypt composed a large number of funerary texts which were certainly in general use under the 4th dynasty (about 3700 B.C.), and were probably well known under the 1st dynasty, and throughout the whole period of dynastic history Thoth was regarded as the author of the “Book of the Dead.”

The Book Per-t em hru, or [The Chapters of] Coming forth by (or, into) the Day, commonly called the “Book of the Dead.”

The spells and other texts which were written by Thoth for the benefit of the dead, and are directly connected with him, were called, according to documents written under the 11th and 18th dynasties, “Chapters of the Coming Forth by (or, into) the Day.” One rubric in the Papyrus of Nu (Brit. Mus. No. 10477) states that the text of the work called “PER-TEM HRU,” i.e., “Coming Forth (or, into) the Day,” was discovered by a high official in the foundations of a shrine of the god Hennu during the reign of Semti, or Hesepti, a king of the 1st dynasty. Another rubric in the same papyrus says that the text was cut upon the alabaster plinth of a statue of Menkaura (Mycerinus), a king of the 4th dynasty, and that the letters were inlaid with lapis lazuli. The plinth was found by Prince Herutataf, a son of King Khufu (Cheops), who carried it off to his king and exhibited it as a “most wonderful” thing. This composition was greatly reverenced, for it “would make a man victorious upon earth and in the Other World; it would ensure him a safe and free passage through the Tuat (Under World); it would allow him to go in and to go out, and to take at any time any form he pleased; it would make his soul to flourish, and would prevent him from dying the [second] death.” For the deceased to receive the full benefit of this text it had to be recited by a man “who was ceremonially pure, and who had not eaten fish or meat, and had not consorted with women.” On coffins of the 11th dynasty and on papyri of the 18th dynasty we find two versions of the PER-TEM HRU, one long and one short. As the title of the shorter version states that it is the “Chapters of the PER-T EM HRU in a single chapter,” it is clear that this work, even under the 4th dynasty, contained many “Chapters,” and that a much abbreviated form of the work was also current at the same period. The rubric that attributes the “finding” of the Chapter to Herutataf associates it with Khemenu, i.e., Hermopolis, and indicates that Thoth, the god of this city, was its author.

The work PER-T EM HRU received many additions in the course of centuries, and at length, under the 18th dynasty, it contained about 190 distinct compositions, or “Chapters.” The original forms of many of these are to be found in the “Pyramid Texts” (i.e., the funerary compositions cut on the walls of the chambers and corridors of the pyramids of Kings Unas, Teta, Pepi I Meri-Ra, Merenra and Pepi II at Sakkârah), which were written under the 5th and 6th dynasties. The forms which many other chapters had under the 11th and 12th dynasties are well represented by the texts painted on the coffins of Amamu, Sen, and Guatep in the British Museum (Nos. 6654, 30839, 30841), but it is possible that both these and the so-called “Pyramid Texts” all belonged to the work PER-TEM HRU, and are extracts from it. The “Pyramid Texts” have no illustrations, but a few of the texts on the coffins of the 11th and 12th dynasties have coloured vignettes, e.g., those which refer to the region to be traversed by the deceased on his way to the Other World, and the Islands of the Blessed or the Elysian Fields. On the upper margins of the insides of such coffins there are frequently given two or more rows of coloured drawings of the offerings which under the Vth dynasty were presented to the deceased or his statue during the celebration of the service of “Opening the Mouth” and the performance of the ceremonies of “The Liturgy of Funerary Offerings.” Under the 18th dynasty, when the use of large rectangular coffins and sarcophagi fell somewhat into disuse, the scribes began to write collections of Chapters from the PER-TEM HRU on rolls of papyri instead of on coffins. At first the texts were written in hieroglyphs, the greater number of them being in black ink, and an attempt was made to illustrate each text by a vignette drawn in black outline. The finest known example of such a codex is the Papyrus of Nebseni (Brit. Mus. No. 9900), which is 77 feet 7 ½ inches in length and 1 foot 1-1/2 inches in breadth. Early in the 18th dynasty scribes began to write the titles of the Chapters, the rubrics, and the catchwords in red ink and the text in black, and it became customary to decorate the vignettes with colours, and to increase their size and number. The oldest codex of this class is the Papyrus of Nu (Brit. Mus. No. 10477) which is 65 feet 3-1/2 inches in length, and 1 foot 1-1/2 inches in breadth. This and many other rolls were written by their owners for their own tombs, and in each roll both text and vignettes were usually, the work of the same hand. Later, however, the scribe wrote the text only, and a skilled artist was employed to add the coloured vignettes, for which spaces were marked out and left blank by the scribe. The finest example of this class of roll is the Papyrus of Ani (Brit. Mus., No. 10470). which is 78 feet in length and 1 foot 3 inches in breadth. In all papyri of this class the text is written in hieroglyphs, but under the 19th and following dynasties many papyri are written throughout in the hieratic character; these usually lack vignettes, but have coloured frontispieces.

Under the rule of the High Priests of Amen many changes were introduced into the contents of the papyri, and the arrangement of the texts and vignettes of the PER-TEM HRU was altered. The great confraternity of Amen-Ra, the “King of the Gods,” felt it to be necessary to emphasize the supremacy of their god, even in the Kingdom of Osiris, and they added many prayers, litanies and hymns to the Sun-god to every selection of the texts from the PER-TEM HRU that was copied on a roll of papyrus for funerary purposes. The greater number of the rolls of this period are short and contain only a few Chapters, e.g., the Papyrus of the Royal Mother Netchemet (Brit. Mus. No. 10541) and the Papyrus of Queen Netchemet (Brit. Mus. No. 10478). In some the text is very defective and carelessly written, but the coloured vignettes are remarkable for their size and beauty; of this class of roll the finest example is the Papyrus of Anhai (Brit. Mus. No. 10472). The most interesting of all the rolls that were written during the rule of the Priest-Kings over Upper Egypt is the Papyrus of Princess Nesitanebtashru (Brit. Mus. No. 10554), now commonly known as the “Greenfield Papyrus.” It is the longest and widest funerary papyrus [The longest papyrus in the world is Papyrus Harris No. 1 (Brit. Mus. No. 9999); it measures 133 feet by 1 foot 4-1/2 inches] known, for it measures 123 feet by 1 foot 6-1/2 inches, and it contains more Chapters, Hymns, Litanies, Adorations and Homages to the gods than any other roll. The 87 Chapters from the PER-TEM HRU which it contains prove the princess’s devotion to the cult of Osiris, and the Hymns to Amen-Ra show that she was able to regard this god and Osiris not as rivals but as two aspects of the same god. She believed that the “hidden” creative power which was materialized in Amen was only another form of the power of procreation, renewed birth and resurrection which was typified by Osiris. The oldest copies of the PER-TEM HRU which we have on papyrus contain a few extracts from other ancient funerary works, such as the “Book of Opening the Mouth,” the “Liturgy of Funerary Offerings,” and the “Book of the Two Ways.” But under the rule of the Priest-Kings the scribes incorporated with the Chapters of the PER-TEM HRU extracts from the “Book of Ami-Tuat” and the “Book of Gates,” and several of the vignettes and texts that are found on the walls of the royal tombs of Thebes.

One of the most remarkable texts written at this period is found in the Papyrus of Nesi-Khensu, which is now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. This is really the copy of a contract which is declared to have been made between Nesi-Khensu and Amen-Ra, “the holy god, the lord of all the gods.” As a reward for the great piety of the queen, and her devotion to the interests of Amen-Ra upon earth, the god undertakes to make her a goddess in his kingdom, to provide her with an estate there in perpetuity and a never-failing supply of offerings, and happiness of heart, soul and body, and the [daily] recital upon earth of the “Seventy Songs of Ra” for the benefit of her soul in the Khert-Neter, or Under World. The contract was drawn up in a series of paragraphs in legal phraseology by the priests of Amen, who believed they had the power of making their god do as they pleased when they pleased.

Little is known of the history of the PER-TEM HRU after the downfall of the priests of Amen, and during the period of the rule of the Nubians, but under the kings of the 26th dynasty the Book enjoyed a great vogue. Many funerary rolls were written both in hieroglyphs and hieratic, and were decorated with vignettes drawn in black outline; and about this time the scribes began to write funerary texts in the demotic character. But men no longer copied long selections from the PER-TEM HRU as they had done under the 18th, 19th and 20th dynasties, partly because the religious views of the Egyptians had undergone a great change, and partly because a number of Books of the Dead of a more popular character had appeared. The cult of Osiris was triumphant everywhere, and men preferred the hymns and litanies which dealt with his sufferings, death and resurrection to the compositions in which the absolute supremacy of Ra and his solar cycle of gods and goddesses was assumed or proclaimed. Thus, in the “Lamentations of Isis” and the “Festival Songs of Isis and Nephthys,” and the “Litanies of Seker,” and the “Book of Honouring Osiris,” etc., the central figure is Osiris, and he alone is regarded as the giver of everlasting life. The dead were no longer buried with large rolls of papyrus filled with Chapters of the PER-TEM HRU laid in their coffins, but with small sheets or strips of papyrus, on which were inscribed the above compositions, or the shorter texts of the “Book of Breathings,” or the “Book of Traversing Eternity,” or the “Book of May my name flourish,” or a part of the “Chapter of the Last Judgment.”

Ancient Egyptian tradition asserts that the Book PER-TEM HRU was used early in the 1st dynasty, and the papyri and coffins of the Roman Period afford evidence that the native Egyptians still accepted all the essential beliefs and doctrines contained in it. During the four thousand years of its existence many additions were made to it, but nothing of importance seems to have been taken away from it. In the space here available it is impossible to describe in detail the various Recensions of this work, viz., (1) the Heliopolitan, (2) the Theban and its various forms, and (3) the Saïte; but it is proposed to sketch briefly the main facts of the Egyptian Religion which may be deduced from them generally, and especially from the Theban Recension, and to indicate the contents of the principal Chapters. No one papyrus can be cited as a final authority, for no payprus contains all the Chapters, 190 in number, of the Theban Recension, and in no two papyri are the selection and sequence of the Chapters identical, or is the treatment of the vignettes the same.

Thoth, the Author of the Book of the Dead.

Thoth, in Egyptian Tchehuti or Tehuti, who has already been mentioned as the author of the texts that form the PER-T EM HRU, or Book of the Dead, was believed by the Egyptians to have been the heart and mind of the Creator, who was in very early times in Egypt called by the natives “Pautti,” and by foreigners “Ra.” Thoth was also the “tongue” of the Creator, and he at all times voiced the will of the great god, and spoke the words which commanded every being and thing in heaven and in earth to come into existence. His words were almighty and once uttered never remained without effect. He framed the laws by which heaven, earth and all the heavenly bodies are maintained; he ordered the courses of the sun, moon, and stars; he invented drawing and design and the arts, the letters of the alphabet and the art of writing, and the science of mathematics. At a very early period he was called the “scribe (or secretary) of the Great Company of the Gods,” and as he kept the celestial register of the words and deeds of men, he was regarded by many generations of Egyptians as the “Recording Angel.” He was the inventor of physical and moral Law and became the personification of JUSTICE; and as the Companies of the Gods of Heaven, and Earth, and the Other World appointed him to “weigh the words and deeds” of men, and his verdicts were unalterable, he became more powerful in the Other World than Osiris himself. Osiris owed his triumph over Set in the Great Judgment Hall of the Gods entirely to the skill of Thoth of the “wise mouth” as an Advocate, and to his influence with the gods in heaven. And every follower of Osiris relied upon the advocacy of Thoth to secure his acquittal on the Day of Judgment, and to procure for him an everlasting habitation in the Kingdom of Osiris.

Thoth and Osiris.

The Egyptians were not satisfied with the mere possession of the texts of Thoth, when their souls were being weighed in the Great Scales in the Judgment Hall of Osiris, but they also wished Thoth to act as their Advocate on this dread occasion and to prove their innocence as he had proved that of Osiris before the great gods in prehistoric times. According to a very ancient Egyptian tradition, the god Osiris, who was originally the god of the principle of the fertility of the Nile, became incarnate on earth as the son of Geb, the Earth-god, and Nut, the Sky-goddess. He had two sisters, Isis and Nephthys, and one brother, Set; he married Isis and Set married Nephthys. Geb set Osiris on the throne of Egypt, and his rule was beneficent and the nation was happy and prosperous. Set marked this and became very jealous of his brother, and wished to slay him so that he might seize his throne and take possession of Isis, whose reputation as a devoted and loving wife and able manager filled the country. By some means or other Set did contrive to kill Osiris: according to one story he killed him by the side of a canal at Netat, near Abydos, and according to another he caused him to be drowned. Isis, accompanied by her sister Nephthys, went to Netat and rescued the body of her lord, and the two sisters, with the help of Anpu, a son of Ra the Sun-god, embalmed it. They then laid the body in a tomb, and a sycamore tree grew round it and flourished over the grave. A tradition which is found in the Pyramid Texts states that before Osiris was laid in his tomb, his wife Isis, by means of her magical powers, succeeded in restoring him to life temporarily, and made him beget of her an heir, who was called Horus. After the burial of Osiris, Isis retreated to the marshes in the Delta, and there she brought forth Horus. In order to avoid the persecution of Set, who on one occasion succeeded in killing Horus by the sting of a scorpion, she fled from place to place in the Delta, and lived a very unhappy life for some years. But Thoth helped her in all her difficulties and provided her with the words of power which restored Horus to life, and enabled her to pass unharmed among the crocodiles and other evil beasts that infested the waters of the Delta at that time.

When Horus arrived at years of maturity, he set out to find Set and to wage war against his father’s murderer. At length they met and a fierce fight ensued, and though Set was defeated before he was finally hurled to the ground, he succeeded in tearing out the right eye of Horus and keeping it. Even after this fight Set was able to persecute Isis, and Horus was powerless to prevent it until Thoth made Set give him the right eye of Horus which he had carried off. Thoth then brought the eye to Horus, and replaced it in his face, and restored sight to it by spitting upon it. Horus then sought out the body of Osiris in order to raise it up to life, and when he found it he untied the bandages so that Osiris might move his limbs, and rise up. Under the direction of Thoth Horus recited a series of formulas as he presented offerings to Osiris, and he and his sons and Anubis performed the ceremonies which opened the mouth, and nostrils, and the eyes and the ears of Osiris. He embraced Osiris and so transferred to him his ka, i.e., his own living personality and virility, and gave him his eye which Thoth had rescued from Set and had replaced in his face. As soon as Osiris had eaten the eye of Horus he became endowed with a soul and vital power, and recovered thereby the complete use of all his mental faculties, which death had suspended. Straightway he rose up from his bier and became the Lord of the Dead and King of the Under World. Osiris became the type and symbol of resurrection among the Egyptians of all periods, because he was a god who had been originally a mortal and had risen from the dead.

But before Osiris became King of the Under World he suffered further persecution from Set. Piecing together a number of disconnected hints and brief statements in the texts, it seems pretty clear either that Osiris appealed to the “Great Gods” to take notice that Set had murdered him, or that Set brought a series of charges against Osiris. At all events the “Great Gods” determined to investigate the matter. The Greater and the Lesser Companies of the Gods assembled in the celestial Anu, or Heliopolis, and ordered Osiris to stand up and defend himself against the charges brought against him by Set. Isis and Nephthys brought him before the gods, and Horus, “the avenger of his father,” came to watch the case on behalf of his father, Osiris. Thoth appeared in the Hall of Judgment in his official capacity as “scribe,” i.e., secretary to the gods, and the hearing of the evidence began. Set seems to have pleaded his own cause, and to have repeated the charges which he had made against Osiris. The defense of Osiris was undertaken by Thoth, who proved to the gods that the charges brought against Osiris by Set were unfounded, that the statements of Set were lies, and that therefore Set was a liar. The gods accepted Thoth’s proof of the innocence of Osiris and the guilt of Set, and ordered that Osiris was to be considered a Great God and to have rule over the Kingdom of the Under World, and that Set was to be punished. Thoth convinced them that Osiris was “MAA KHERU,” “true of word,” i.e., that he had spoken the truth when he gave his evidence, and in texts of all periods Thoth is frequently described as S-MAA KHERU ASAR, i.e., he who proved Osiris to be “true of word.” As for Set the Liar, he was seized by the ministers of the Great Gods, who threw him down on his hands and face and made Osiris mount upon his back as a mark of his victory and superiority. After this Set was bound with cords like a beast for sacrifice, and in the presence of Thoth was hacked in pieces.

Osiris as Judge of the Dead and King of the Under World.

When Set was destroyed Osiris departed from this world to the kingdom which the gods had given him and began to reign over the dead. He was absolute king of this realm, just as Ra the Sun-god was absolute king of the sky. This region of the dead, or Dead-land, is called “Tat,” or “Tuat,” but where the Egyptians thought it was situated is not quite clear. The original home of the cult of Osiris was in the Delta, in a city which in historic times was called Tetu by the Egyptians and Busiris by the Greeks, and it is reasonable to assume that the Tuat, over which Osiris ruled, was situated near this place. Wherever it was it was not underground, and it was not originally in the sky or even on its confines; but it was located on the borders of the visible world, in the Outer Darkness. The Tuat was not a place of happiness, judging from the description of it in the PER-TEM HRU, or Book of the Dead. When Ani the scribe arrived there he said, “What is this to which I have come? There is neither water nor air here, its depth is unfathomable, it is as dark as the darkest night, and men wander about here helplessly. A man cannot live here and be satisfied, and he cannot gratify the cravings of affection” (Chapter CLXXV). In the Tuat there was neither tree nor plant, for it was the “land where nothing grew”; and in primitive times it was a region of destruction and death, a place where the dead rotted and decayed, a place of abomination, and horror and terror, and annihilation. But in very early times, certainly in the Neolithic Period, the Egyptians believed in some kind of a future life, and they dimly conceived that the attainment of that life might possibly depend upon the manner of life which those who hoped to enjoy it led here.

The Egyptians “hated death and loved life,” and when the belief gained ground among them that Osiris, the God of the Dead, had himself risen from the dead, and had been acquitted by the gods of heaven after a searching trial, and had the power to “make men and women to be born again,” and “to renew life” because of his truth and righteousness, they came to regard him as the Judge as well as the God of the Dead. As time went on, and moral and religious ideas developed among the Egyptians, it became certain to them that only those who had satisfied Osiris as to their truth-speaking and honest dealing upon earth could hope for admission into his kingdom.

When the power of Osiris became predominant in the Under World, and his fame as a just and righteous judge became well established among the natives of Lower and Upper Egypt, it was universally believed that after death all men would appear before him in his dread Hall of Judgment to receive their reward or their sentence of doom. The writers of the Pyramid Texts, more than fifty-five centuries ago, dreamed of a time when heaven and earth and men did not exist, when the gods had not yet been born, when death had not been created, and when anger, speech (?), cursing and rebellion were unknown. [Pyramid of Pepi I, ll. 664 and 662] But that time was very remote, and long before the great fight took place between Horus and Set, when the former lost his eye and the latter was wounded in a vital part of his body. Meanwhile death had come into the world, and since the religion of Osiris gave man a hope of escape from death, and the promise of everlasting life of the peculiar kind that appealed to the great mass of the Egyptian people, the spread of the cult of Osiris and its ultimate triumph over all forms of religion in Egypt were assured. Under the early dynasties the priesthood of Anu (the On of the Bible) strove to make their Sun-god Ra pre-eminent in Egypt, but the cult of this god never appealed to the people as a whole. It was embraced by the Pharaohs, and their high officials, and some of the nobles, and the official priesthood, but the reward which its doctrine offered was not popular with the materialistic Egyptians. A life passed in the Boat of Ra with the gods, being arrayed in light and fed upon light, made no appeal to the ordinary folk since Osiris offered them as a reward a life in the Field of Reeds, and the Field of Offerings of Food, and the Field of the Grasshoppers, and everlasting existence in a transmuted and beautified body among the resurrected bodies of father and mother, wife and children, kinsfolk and friends.

But, as according to the cult of Ra, the wicked, the rebels, and the blasphemers of the Sun-god suffered swift and final punishment, so also all those who had sinned against the stern moral Law of Osiris, and who had failed to satisfy its demands, paid the penalty without delay. The Judgment of Ra was held at sunrise, and the wicked were thrown into deep pits filled with fire, and their bodies, souls, shadows and hearts were consumed forthwith. The Judgment of Osiris took place near Abydos, probably at midnight, and a decree of swift annihilation was passed by him on the damned. Their heads were cut off by the headsman of Osiris, who was called Shesmu, and their bodies dismembered and destroyed in pits of fire. There was no eternal punishment for men, for the wicked were annihilated quickly and completely; but inasmuch as Osiris sat in judgment and doomed the wicked to destruction daily, the infliction of punishment never ceased.

The Judgment of Osiris.

The oldest religious texts suggest that the Egyptians always associated the Last Judgment with the weighing of the heart in a pair of scales, and in the illustrated papyri of the Book of the Dead great prominence is always given to the vignettes in which this weighing is being carried out. The heart, ab, was taken as the symbol of all the emotions, desires, and passions, both good and evil, and out of it proceeded the issues of life. It was intimately connected with the ka, i.e., the double or personality of a man, and several short spells in the Book PER-TEM HRU were composed to ensure its preservation (Chapters XXVI-XXXB). The great Chapter of the Judgment of Osiris, the CXXVth, is divided into three parts, which are sometimes (as in the Papyrus of Ani) prefaced by a Hymn to Osiris. The first part contains the following, which was said by the deceased when he entered the Hall of Maati, in which Osiris sat in judgment: “Homage to thee, O Great God, Lord of Maati, [I.e., Truth, or Law, in a double aspect] I have come to thee, O my Lord, that I may behold thy beneficence. I know thee, and I know thy name, and the names of the Forty-Two who live with thee in the Hall of Maati, who keep ward over sinners, and feed upon their blood on the day of estimating characters before Un-Nefer [A name of Osiris] … Behold, I have come to thee, and I have brought maat (i.e., truth, integrity) to thee. I have destroyed sin for thee. I have not sinned against men. I have not oppressed [my] kinsfolk. I have done no wrong in the place of truth. I have not known worthless folk. I have not wrought evil. I have not defrauded the oppressed one of his goods. I have not done the things that the gods abominate. I have not vilified a servant to his master. I have not caused pain. I have not let any man hunger. I have made no one to weep. I have not committed murder. I have not commanded any to commit murder for me. I have inflicted pain on no man. I have not defrauded the temples of their oblations. I have not purloined the cakes of the gods. I have not stolen the offerings to the spirits (i.e., the dead). I have not committed fornication. I have not polluted myself in the holy places of the god of my city. I have not diminished from the bushel. I did not take from or add to the acre-measure. I did not encroach on the fields [of others]. I have not added to the weights of the scales. I have not misread the pointer of the scales. I have not taken milk from the mouths of children. I have not driven cattle from their pastures. I have not snared the birds of the gods. I have not caught fish with fish of their kind. I have not stopped water [when it should flow]. I have not cut the dam of a canal. I have not extinguished a fire when it should burn. I have not altered the times of the chosen meat offerings. I have not turned away the cattle [intended for] offerings. I have not repulsed the god at his appearances. I am pure. I am pure. I am pure. I am pure….”

In the second part of Chapter CXXV Osiris is seen seated at one end of the Hall of Maati accompanied by the two goddesses of Law and Truth, and the Forty-Two gods who are there to assist him. Each of the Forty-Two gods represents one of the nomes of Egypt and has a symbolic name. When the deceased had repeated the magical names of the doors of the Hall, he entered it and saw these gods arranged in two rows, twenty-one on each side of the Hall. At the end, near Osiris, were the Great Scales, under the charge of Anpu (Anubis), and the monster Amemit, the Eater of the Dead, i.e., of the hearts of the wicked who were condemned in the Judgment of Osiris. The deceased advanced along the Hall and, addressing each of the Forty-Two gods by his name, declared that he had not committed a certain sin, thus:

“O Usekh-nemmit, comer forth from Anu, I have not committed sin.

“O Fenti, comer forth from Khemenu, I have not robbed.

“O Neha-hau, comer forth from Re-stau, I have not killed men.

“O Neba, comer forth in retreating, I have not plundered the propertyof God.

“O Set-qesu, comer forth from Hensu, I have not lied.

“O Uammti, comer forth from Khebt, I have not defiled any man’s wife.

“O Maa-anuf, comer forth from Per-Menu, I have not defiled myself.

“O Tem-Sep, comer forth from Tetu, I have not cursed the king.

“O Nefer-Tem, comer forth from Het-ka-Ptah, I have not acted deceitfully; I have not committed wickedness.

“O Nekhen, comer forth from Heqat, I have not turned a deaf ear to the words of the Law (or Truth).”

{NOTE: Do these sound familiar? CP}

The names of most of the Forty-Two gods are not ancient, but were invented by the priests probably about the same time as the names in the Book of Him that is in the Tuat and the Book of Gates, i.e., between the 12th and the 18th dynasties. Their artificial character is shown by their meanings. Thus Usekh-nemmit means “He of the long strides”; Fenti means “He of the Nose”; Neha-hau means “Stinking-members”; Set-qesu means “Breaker of bones,” etc. The early Egyptologists called the second part of the CXXVth Chapter the “Negative Confession,” and it is generally known by this somewhat inexact title to this day.

In the third part of the CXXVth Chapter comes the address which the deceased made to the gods after he had declared his innocence of the sins enumerated before the Forty-Two gods. He says: “Homage to you, O ye gods who dwell in your Hall of Maati. I know you and I know your names. Let me not fall under your slaughtering knives. Bring not my wickedness to the notice of the god whose followers ye are. Let not the affair [of my judgment] come under your jurisdiction. Speak ye the Law (or truth) concerning me before Neb-er-tcher, [I.e., the “Lord to the uttermost limit of everything,” or God] for I performed the Law (or, truth) in Ta-mera (i.e., Egypt). I have not blasphemed the God. No affair of mine came under the notice of the king in his day. Homage to you, O ye who are in your Hall of Maati, who have no lies in your bodies, who live on truth, who eat truth before Horus, the dweller in his disk, deliver ye me from Babai [He was according to one legend the firstborn son of Osiris] who liveth upon the entrails of the mighty ones on the day of the Great Reckoning (APT AAT). Behold me! I have come to you without sin, without deceit (?), without evil, without false testimony (?) I have not done an [evil] thing. I live upon truth and I feed upon truth. I have performed the behests of men, and the things that satisfy the gods. I.e., I have kept the Moral and Divine Law] I have propitiated the God [by doing] His will. I have given bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, raiment to the naked, and a boat to him that needed one. I have made holy offerings to the gods, and sepulchral offerings to the beautified dead. Be ye then my saviours, be ye my protectors, and make no accusation against me before the Great God. I am pure of mouth, and clean of hands; therefore it hath been said by those who saw me, ‘Come in peace, come in peace.'”

The deceased then addresses Osiris, and says, “Hail, thou who art exalted upon thy standard, thou Lord of the Atefu Crown, whose name is ‘Lord of Winds,’ save me from thy Messengers (or Assessors) with uncovered faces, who bring charges of evil and make shortcomings plain, because I have performed the Law (or Truth) for the Lord of the Law (or Truth). I have purified myself with washings in water, my back hath been cleansed with salt, and my inner parts are in the Pool of Truth. There is not a member of mine that lacketh truth.” From the lines that follow the above in the Papyrus of Nu it seems as though the judgment of the deceased by the Forty-Two gods was preliminary to the final judgment of Osiris. At all events, after questioning him about the performance of certain ceremonies, they invited him to enter the Hall of Maati, but when he was about to do so the porter, and the door-bolts, and the various parts of the door and its frame, and the floor, refused to permit him to enter until he had repeated their magical names. When he had pronounced these correctly the porter took him in and presented him to Maau (?)-Taui, who was Thoth himself. When asked by him why he had come the deceased answered, “I have come that report may be made of me.” Then Thoth said, “What is thy condition?” And the deceased replied, “I am purified from evil things, I am free from the wickedness of those who lived in my days; I am not one of them.” On this Thoth said, “Thou shalt be reported. Who is he whose roof is fire, whose walls are living serpents, and whose floor is a stream of water? Who is he?” The deceased having replied “Osiris,” Thoth then led him forward to the god Osiris, who received him, and promised that subsistence should be provided for him from the Eye of Ra.

In great papyri of the Book of the Dead such as those of Nebseni, Nu, Ani, Hunefer, etc., the Last Judgment, or the “Great Reckoning,” is made the most prominent scene in the whole work, and the vignette in which it is depicted is several feet long. The most complete form of it is given in the Papyrus of Ani, and may be thus described: At one end of the Hall of Maati Osiris is seated on a throne within a shrine made in the form of a funerary coffer; behind him stand Isis and Nephthys. Along one side of the Hall are seated the gods Harmachis, Tem, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Isis and Nephthys, Horus, Hathor, Hu and Saa, who are to serve as the divine jury; these formed the “Great Company of the Gods” of Anu (Heliopolis). By these stands the Great Balance, and on its pillar sits the dog-headed ape Astes, or Astenu, the associate of Thoth. The pointer of the Balance is in the charge of Anpu. Behind Anpu are Thoth the scribe of the gods, and the monster Amemit, with the head of a crocodile, the forepaws and shoulders of a lion, and the hindquarters of a hippopotamus; the duty of the last-named was to eat up the hearts that were light in the balance. On the other side of the Balance Ani, accompanied by his wife, is seen standing with head bent low in adoration, and between him and the Balance stand the two goddesses who nurse and rear children, Meskhenet and Rennet, Ani’s soul, in the form of a man-headed hawk, a portion of his body, and his luck Shai. Since the heart was considered to be the seat of all will, emotion, feeling, reason and intelligence, Ani’s heart, is seen in one pan of the Balance, and in the other is the feather, symbolic of truth and righteousness. Whilst his heart was in the Balance Ani, repeating the words of Chapter XXXB of the Book of the Dead, addressed it, saying, “My heart of my mother! My heart of my mother! My heart of my being! Make no stand against me when testifying, thrust me not back before the Tchatchaut (i.e., the overseers of Osiris), and make no failure in respect of me before the Master of the Balance. Thou art my Ka, the dweller in my body, uniting (?) and strengthening my members. Thou shalt come forth to the happiness to which we advance. Make not my name to stink with the officers [of Osiris] who made men, utter no lie against me before the Great God, the Lord of Amentt.”

Then Thoth, the Judge of Truth, of the Great Company of the Gods who are in the presence of Osiris, saith to the gods, “Hearken ye to this word: In very truth the heart of Osiris hath been weighed, and his soul hath borne testimony concerning him; according to the Great Balance his case is truth (i.e., just). No wickedness hath been found in him. He did not filch offerings from the temples. He did not act crookedly, and he did not vilify folk when he was on earth.”

And the Great Company of the Gods say to Thoth, who dwelleth in Khemenu (Hermopolis): “This that cometh forth from thy mouth of truth is confirmed (?) The Osiris, the scribe Ani, true of voice, hath testified. He hath not sinned and [his name] doth not stink before us; Amemit (i.e., the Eater of the Dead) shall not have the mastery over him. Let there be given unto him offerings of food and an appearance before Osiris, and an abiding homestead in the Field of Offerings as unto the Followers of Horus.”

Thus the gods have declared that Ani is “true of voice,” as was Osiris, and they have called Ani “Osiris,” because in his purity of word and deed he resembled that god. In all the copies of the Book of the Dead the deceased is always called “Osiris,” and as it was always assumed that those for whom they were written would be found innocent when weighed in the Great Balance, the words “true of voice,” which were equivalent in meaning to “innocent and acquitted,” were always written after their names. It may be noted in passing that when Ani’s heart was weighed against Truth, the beam of the Great Balance remained perfectly horizontal. This suggests that the gods did not expect the heart of the deceased to “kick the beam,” but were quite satisfied if it exactly counterbalanced Truth. They demanded the fulfilment of the Law and nothing more, and were content to bestow immortality upon the man on whom Thoth’s verdict was “he hath done no evil.”

In accordance with the command of the gods Ani passes from the Great Balance to the end of the Hall of Maati where Osiris is seated, and as he approaches the god Horus, the son of Isis, takes him by the hand and leads him forward, and standing before his father Osiris says, “I have come to thee, Un-Nefer, [I.e., the “Beneficent Being,” a title of Osiris] I have brought to thee the Osiris Ani. His heart is righteous [and] hath come forth from the Balance. It hath no sin before any god or any goddess. Thoth hath set down his judgment in writing, and the Company of the Gods have declared on his behalf that [his] evidence is very true. Let there be given unto him of the bread and beer which appear before Osiris. Let him be like the Followers of Horus forever!” Next we see Ani kneeling in adoration before Osiris, and he says, “Behold, I am in thy presence, O Lord of Amentt. There is no sin in my body. I have not uttered a lie knowingly. [I have] no duplicity (?) Grant that I may be like the favoured (or rewarded) ones who are in thy train.” Under favour of Osiris Ani then became a sahu, or “spirit-body,” and in this form passed into the Kingdom of Osiris.

The Kingdom of Osiris.

According to the Book of Gates and the other “Guides” to the Egyptian Under World, the Kingdom of Osiris formed the Sixth Division of the Tuat; in very early times it was situated in the Western Delta, but after the 12th dynasty theologians placed it near Abydos in Upper Egypt, and before the close of the Dynastic Period the Tuat of Osiris had absorbed the Under World of every nome of Egypt. When the soul in its beautified or spirit body arrived there, the ministers of Osiris took it to the homestead or place of abode which had been allotted to it by the command of Osiris, and there it began its new existence. The large vignette to the CXth Chapter shows us exactly what manner of place the abode of the blessed was. The country was flat and the fields were intersected by canals of running water in which there were “no fish and no worms” (i.e., water snakes). In one part of it were several small islands, and on one of them Osiris was supposed to dwell with his saints. It was called the “Island of Truth,” and the ferry-man of Osiris would not convey to it any soul that had not been declared “true of word” by Thoth, Osiris and the Great Gods at the “Great Reckoning.” The portion of the Kingdom of Osiris depicted in the large Books of the Dead represents in many respects a typical Egyptian farm, and we see the deceased engaged in ploughing and reaping and driving the oxen that are treading out the corn. He was introduced into the Sekhet Heteput (a section of the Sekhet Aaru, i.e., “Field of Reeds,” or the “Elysian Fields”) by Thoth, and there he found the souls of his ancestors, who were joined to the Company of the Gods. One corner of this region was specially set apart for the dwelling place of the aakhu, i.e., beautified souls, or spirit-souls, who were said to be seven cubits in height, and to reap wheat or barley which grew to a height of three cubits. Near this spot were moored two boats that were always ready for the use of the denizens of that region; they appear to have been “spirit boats,” i.e., boats which moved of themselves and carried the beautified where so ever they wanted to go without any trouble or fatigue on their part.

How the beautified passed their time in the Kingdom of Osiris may be seen from the pictures cut on the alabaster sarcophagus of Seti I, now preserved in Sir John Soane’s Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Here we see them occupied in producing the celestial food on which they and the god lived. Some are tending the wheat plants as they grow, and others are reaping the ripe grain. In the texts that accompany these scenes the ears of wheat are said to be the “members of Osiris,” and the wheat plant is called the maat plant. Osiris was the Wheat-god and also the personification of Maat (i.e., Truth), and the beautified lived upon the body of their god and ate him daily, and the substance of him was the “Bread of Everlastingness,” which is mentioned in the Pyramid Texts. The beautified are described as “Those who have offered up incense to the gods, and whose kau (i.e., doubles, or persons) have been washed clean. They have been reckoned up and they are maat (i.e., Truth) in the presence of the Great God who destroyeth sin.” Osiris says to them, “Ye are truth of truth; rest in peace.” And of them he says, “They were doers of truth whilst they were upon earth, they did battle for their god, and they shall be called to the enjoyment of the Land of the House of Life with Truth. Their truth shall be reckoned to them in the presence of the Great God who destroyeth sin.” Then addressing them again Osiris says, “Ye are beings of Truth, O ye Truths. Take ye your rest because of what ye have done, becoming even as those who are in my following, and who direct the House of Him whose Soul is holy. Ye shall live there even as they live, and ye shall have dominion over the cool waters of your land. I command that ye have your being to the limit [of that land] with Truth and without sin.” In these passages we have the two conceptions of Osiris well illustrated. As the Wheat-god he would satisfy those who wished for a purely material, agricultural heaven, where hunger would be unknown and where the blessed would be able to satisfy every physical desire and want daily; and as the God of Truth, of whom the spiritually minded hoped to become the counterpart, he would be their hope, and consolation, and the image of the Eternal God.

“Doors” of the Book of the Dead.

All the great papyri of the Book of the Dead begin with a HYMN TO RA, who from the period of the IVth dynasty was the “King of the Gods” of Egypt. His cult was finally “established” under the Vth dynasty when the king of Egypt began to call himself in official documents and monuments “Son of the Sun,” Sa Ra. This Hymn is supposed to be sung by the deceased, who says: “Homage to thee, O Ra, at thy beauteous rising. Thou risest, thou risest; thou shinest, thou shinest at the dawn. Thou art King of the Gods, and the Maati goddesses embrace thee. The Company of the Gods praise thee at sunrise and at sunset. Thou sailest over the heights of heaven and thy heart is glad. Thy Morning Boat meeteth thy Evening Boat with fair winds. Thy father is the Sky-god and thy mother is the Sky-goddess, and thou art Horus of the Eastern and Western skies. … O thou Only One, O thou Perfect One, O thou who art eternal, who art never weak, whom no mighty one can abase; none hath dominion over the things which appertain to thee. Homage to thee in thy characters of Horus, Tem, and Khepera, thou Great Hawk, who makest man to rejoice by thy beautiful face. When thou risest men and women live. Thou renewest thy youth, and dost set thyself in the place where thou wast yesterday. O Divine Youth, who art self-created, I cannot comprehend thee. Thou art the lord of heaven and earth, and didst create beings celestial and beings terrestrial. Thou art the God One, who camest into being in the beginning of time. Thou didst create the earth, and man, thou didst make the sky and the celestial river Hep; thou didst make the waters and didst give life unto all that therein is. Thou hast knit together the mountains, thou hast made mankind and the beasts of the field to come into being, and hast made the heavens and the earth. The fiend Nak is overthrown, his arms are cut off. O thou Divine Youth, thou heir of everlastingness, self-begotten and self-born, One, Might, of myriad forms and aspects, Prince of An (i.e., On), Lord of Eternity, Everlasting Ruler, the Company of the Gods rejoice in thee. As thou risest thou growest greater: thy rays are upon all faces. Thou art unknowable, and no tongue can describe thy similitude; thou existest alone. Millions of years have passed over the world, I cannot tell the number of those through which thou hast passed. Thou journeyest through spaces [requiring] millions of years [to pass over] in one little moment of time, and then thou settest and dost make an end of the hours.”

The subject matter of the above extract is treated at greater length in Chapter XV, which contains a long Hymn to Ra at his rising, or Amen-Ra, or Ra united to other solar gods, e.g., Horus and Khepera, and a short Hymn to Ra at his setting. In the latter the welcome which Ra receives from the dwellers in Amentt (i.e., the Hidden Place, like the Greek “Hades”) is emphasized thus: “All the beautified dead (Aakhu) in the Tuat receive him in the horizon of Amentt. They shout praises of him in his form of Tem (i.e., the setting sun). Thou didst rise and put on strength, and thou settest, a living being, and thy glories are in Amentt. The gods of Amentt rejoice in thy beauties (or beneficence). The hidden ones worship thee, the aged ones bring thee offerings and protect thee. The Souls of Amentt cry out, and when they meet thy Majesty (Life, Strength, Health be to thee!) they shout ‘Hail! Hail!’ The lords of the mansions of the Tuat stretch out their hands to thee from their abodes, and they cry to thee, and they follow in thy bright train, and the hearts of the lords of the Tuat rejoice when thou sendest thy light into Amentt. Their eyes follow thee, they press forward to see thee, and their hearts rejoice at the sight of thy face. Thou hearkenest to the petitions of those who are in their tombs, thou dispellest their helplessness and drivest away evil from them. Thou givest breath to their nostrils. Thou art greatly feared, thy form is majestic, and very greatly art thou beloved by those who dwell in the Other World.”

The Introductory HYMN TO RA is followed by a HYMN TO OSIRIS, in which the deceased says:

“Glory be to thee, O Osiris Un-Nefer, thou great god in Abtu (Abydos), King of Eternity, Lord of Everlastingness, God whose existence is millions of years, eldest son of Nut, begotten by Geb, the Ancestor-Chief, Lord of the Crowns of the South and the North, Lord of the High White Crown. Thou art the Governor of gods and of men and hast received the sceptre, the whip, and the rank of thy Divine Fathers. Let thy heart in Amentt be content, for thy son Horus is seated upon thy throne. Thou art Lord of Tetu (Busiris) and Governor of Abtu (Abydos). Thou makest fertile the Two Lands (i.e., all Egypt) by [thy] true word before the Lord to the Uttermost Limit…Thy power is widespread, and great is the terror of thy name ‘Osiris.’ Thou endurest for all eternity in thy name of ‘Un-Nefer’ (i.e., Beneficent Being). Homage to thee, King of kings, Lord of lords, Governor of governors, who from the womb of the Sky-goddess hast ruled the World and the Under World. Thy limbs are as silver-gold, thy hand is blue like lapis-lazuli, and the space on either side of thee is of the colour of turquoise (or emerald). Thou god An of millions of years, thy body is all-pervading, O dweller in the Land of Holiness, thy face is beautiful … The gods come before thee bowing low. They hold thee in fear. They withdraw and retreat when they see the awfulness of Ra upon thee; the [thought] of the conquests of thy Majesty is in their hearts. Life is with thee.

“Let me follow thy Majesty as when I was on earth, let my soul be summoned, and let it be found near the Lords of Truth. I have come to the City of God, the region that is eternally old, with my soul (ba), double (ka) and spirit-soul (aakhu), to be a dweller in this land. Its God is the Lord of Truth … he giveth old age to him that worketh Truth, and honour to his followers, and at the last abundant equipment for the tomb, and burial in the Land of Holiness. I have come unto thee, my hands hold Truth, and there is no falsehood in my heart …Thou hast set Truth before thee: I know on what thou livest. I have committed no sin in this land, and I have defrauded no man of his possessions.” (Chapter CLXXXIII.)

Chapter I was recited by the priest who accompanied the mummy to the tomb and performed the burial ceremonies there. In it the priest (kher heb) assumed the character of Thoth and promised the deceased to do for him all that he had done for Osiris in days of old. Chapter IB gave the sahu, or “spirit-body,” power to enter the Tuat immediately after the burial of the material body, and delivered it from the Nine Worms that lived on the dead. Chapters II-IV are short spells written to give the deceased power to revisit the earth, to join the gods, and to travel about the sky. Chapters V and VI provided for the performance of agricultural labours in the Other World. The text of Chapter VI was cut on figures made of stone, wood, etc. (ushabtiu), which were placed in the tomb, and when the deceased recited it these figures became alive and did everything he wished. The shabti figure, took the place of the human funerary sacrifice which was common all over Egypt before the general adoption of the cult of Osiris under the 12th dynasty. About 700 ushabtiu figures were found in the tomb of Seti I, and many of them are in the British Museum. Chapter VII is a spell to destroy the Great Serpent Aapep, the Arch-enemy of Horus the Elder, Ra, Osiris, Horus son of Isis, and of every follower of Osiris. Chapters VIII and IX secured a passage for the deceased through the Tuat, and Chapters X and XI gave him power over the enemies he met there. Chapters XII and XIII gave him great freedom of movement in the Kingdom of Osiris. Chapter XIV is a prayer in which Osiris is entreated to put away any feeling of dissatisfaction that he may have for the deceased, who says, “Wash away my sins, Lord of Truth; destroy my transgressions, wickedness and iniquity, O God of Truth. May this god be at peace with me. Destroy the things that are obstacles between us. Give me peace, and remove all dissatisfaction from thy heart in respect of me.”

Chapter XV has several forms, and each of them contains Hymns to Ra, which were sung daily in the morning and evening; specimen paragraphs are given above (pp. 33, 34). Chapter XVI is only a vignette that illustrates Chapter XV, Chapter XVII is a very important chapter, for it contains statements of divine doctrine as understood by the priests of Heliopolis. The opening words are, “I am Tem in rising. I am the Only One. I came into being in Nu (the Sky). I am Ra, who rose in primeval time, ruler of what he had made.” Following this comes the question, “Who is this?” and the answer is, “It is Ra who rose in the city of Hensu, in primeval time, crowned as king. He existed on the height of the Dweller in Khemenu (i.e., Thoth of Hermopolis) before the pillars that support the sky were made.”

Chapter XVIII contains the Addresses to Thoth, who is entreated to make the deceased to be declared innocent before the gods of Heliopolis, Busiris, Latopolis, Mendes, Abydos, etc. These addresses formed a very powerful spell which was used by Horus, and when he recited it four times all his enemies were overthrown and cut to pieces. Chapters XIX and XX are variant forms of Chapter XVIII. Chapters XXI-XXIII secured the help of Thoth in “opening the mouth” of the deceased, whereby he obtained the power to breathe and think and drink and eat. Thoth recited spells over the gods whilst Ptah untied the bandages and Shu forced open their mouths with an iron (?) knife.

Chapter XXIV gave to the deceased a knowledge of the “words of power” (hekau) which were used by the great god Tem-Khepera, and Chapter XXV restored to him his memory. Five chapters, XXVI-XXX, contain prayers and spells whereby the deceased obtained power over his heart and gained absolute possession of it. The most popular prayer is that of Chapter XXXB which, according to its rubric, was “found,” i.e., edited, by Herutataf, the son of the great Cheops, about 3600 B.C. This prayer was still in use in the early years of the Christian Era. In the Papyrus of Nu it is associated with Chapter LXIV, and the earliest form of it was probably in existence under the 1st dynasty.

Chapters XXXI-XLII were written to deliver the deceased from the Great Crocodile Sui, and the Serpents Rerek and Seksek, and the Lynx with its deadly claws, and the Beetle Apshait, and the terrible Merti snake-goddesses, and a group of three particularly venomous serpents, and Aapep a personification of Set the god of evil, and the Eater of the Ass, and a series of beings who lived by slaughtering the souls of the dead.

In Chapter XLII every member of the deceased is put under the protection of, or identified with, a god or goddess, e.g., the hair with Nu, the face with Aten (i.e., the solar disk), the eyes with Hathor, and the deceased exclaims triumphantly, “There is no member of my body which is not the member of a god.” Chapter XLIII. A spell to prevent the decapitation of the deceased, who assumes in it the character of Osiris the Lord of Eternity.

Chapter XLIV An ancient and mighty spell, the recital of which prevented the deceased from dying a second time. Chapters XLV and XLVI preserved the mummy of the deceased from decay, and Chapter XLVII prevented the removal of his seat or throne. Chapter L enabled the deceased to avoid the block of execution of the god Shesmu. Chapters LI-LIII provided the deceased with pure food and clean water from the table of the gods; he lived upon what they lived upon, and so became one with them. Chapters LIV-LXII gave the deceased power to obtain cool water from the Celestial Nile and the springs of waters of heaven, and being identified with Shu, the god of light and air, he was enabled to pass over all the earth at will. His life was that of the Egg of the “Great Cackler,” and the goddess Sesheta built a house for him in the Celestial Anu, or Heliopolis.

The recital of Chapter LXIII enabled the deceased to avoid drinking boiling water in the Tuat. The water in some of its pools was cool and refreshing to those who were speakers of the truth, but it turned into boiling water and scalded the wicked when they tried to drink of it. Chapter LXIV is an epitome of the whole Book of the Dead, and it formed a “great and divine protection” for the deceased. The text is of a mystical character and suggests that the deceased could, through its recital, either absorb the gods into his being, or become himself absorbed by them. Its rubric orders abstention from meats, fish and women on the part of those who were to recite it.

Chapter LXV gave the deceased victory over all his enemies, and Chapters LXVI and LXVII gave him access to the Boat of Ra. Chapters LXVIII-LXX procured him complete freedom of motion in heaven and on earth. Chapter LXXI is a series of addresses to the Seven Spirits who punished the wicked in the Kingdom of Osiris, and Chapter LXXII aided the deceased to be reborn in the Mesqet Chamber. The Mesqet was originally a bull’s skin in which the deceased was wrapped. Chapter LXXIII is the same as Chapter IX. Chapters LXXIV and LXXV secured a passage for the deceased in the Henu Boat of Seker the Death-god, and Chapter LXXVI brought to his help the praying mantis which guided him through the “bush” to the House of Osiris. By the recital of Chapters LXXVII-LXXXVIII, i.e., the “Chapters of Transformations,” the deceased was enabled to assume at will the forms of (1) the Golden Hawk, (2) the Divine Hawk, (3) the Great Self-created God, (4) the Light-god or the Robe of Nu, (5) the Pure Lily, (6) the Son of Ptah, (7) the Benu Bird, (8) the Heron, (9) the Soul of Ra, (10) the Swallow, (11) the Sata or Earth-serpent, (12) the Crocodile.

Chapter LXXXIX brought the soul (ba) of the deceased to his body in the Tuat, and Chapter XC preserved him from mutilation and attacks of the god who “cut off heads and slit foreheads.” Chapters XCI and XCII prevented the soul of the deceased from being shut in the tomb. Chapter XCIII is a spell very difficult to understand. Chapters XCIV and XCV provided the deceased with the books of Thoth and the power of this god, and enabled him to take his place as the scribe of Osiris. Chapters XCVI and XCVII also placed him under the protection of Thoth. The recital of Chapter XCVIII provided the deceased with a boat in which to sail over the northern heavens, and a ladder by which to ascend to heaven. Chapters XCIX-CIII gave him the use of the magical boat, the mystic name of each part of which he was obliged to know, and helped him to enter the Boat of Ra and to be with Hathor. The Bebait, or mantis, led him to the great gods (Chapter CIV), and the Uatch amulet from the neck of Ra provided his double (ka) and his heart-soul (ba) with offerings (Chapters CV, CVI).

Chapters CVII-CIX made him favourably known to the spirits of the East and West, and the gods of the Mountain of Sunrise. In this region lived the terrible Serpent-god Ami-hem-f; he was 30 cubits (50 feet) long. In the East the deceased saw the Morning Star, and the Two Sycamores, from between which the Sun-god appeared daily, and found the entrance to the Sekhet Aaru or Elysian Fields. Chapter CX and its vignette of the Elysian Fields have already been described (see p. 31). Chapters CXI and CXII describe how Horus lost the sight of his eye temporarily through looking at Set under the form of a black pig, and Chapter CXIII refers to the legend of the drowning of Horus and the recovery of his body by Sebek the Crocodile-god.

Chapter CXIV enabled the deceased to absorb the wisdom of Thoth and his Eight gods. Chapters CXV-CXXII made him lord of the Tuats of Memphis and Heliopolis, and supplied him with food, and Chapter CXXIII enabled him to identify himself with Thoth. Chapters CXXIV and CXXV, which treat of the Judgment, have already been described. Chapter CXXVI contains a prayer to the Four Holy Apes, Chapter CXXVII a hymn to the gods of the “Circles” in the Tuat, and Chapter CXXVIII a hymn to Osiris. Chapters CXXX and CXXXI secured for the deceased the use of the Boats of Sunrise and Sunset, and Chapter CXXXII enabled him to return to earth and visit the house he had lived in. Chapters CXXXIII (or CXXXIX)-CXXXVI resemble in contents Chapter CXXXI. Chapter CXXXVII describes a series of magical ceremonies that were to be performed for the deceased daily in order to make him to become a “living soul forever.” The formulae are said to have been composed under the 4th dynasty. Chapter CXXXVIII refers to the ceremony of reconstituting Osiris, and Chapters CXL-CXLII deal with the setting up of twelve altars, and the making of offerings to all the gods and to the various forms of Osiris. Chapter CXLIII consists of a series of vignettes, in three of which solar boats are represented.

Chapters CXLIV and CXLVII deal with the Seven Great Halls (Arit) of the Kingdom of Osiris. The gate of each Hall was guarded by a porter, a watchman, and a messenger; the first kept the door, the second looked out for the arrival of visitors, and the third took their names to Osiris. No one could enter a Hall without repeating the name of it, of the porter, of the watchman, and of the messenger. According to a late tradition the Gates of the Kingdom of Osiris were twenty-one in number (Chapters CXLV and CXLVI), and each had a magical name, and each was guarded by one or two gods, whose names had to be repeated by the deceased before he could pass. Chapter CXLVIII supplied the deceased with the names of the Seven Cows and their Bull on which the “gods” were supposed to feed. Chapters CXLIX and CL give the names of the Fourteen Aats, or districts, of the Kingdom of Osiris. Chapter CLI-A and CLI-B give a picture of the mummy chamber and the magical texts that were necessary for the protection of both the chamber and the mummy in it. Chapter CLII provided a house for the deceased in the Celestial Anu, and Chapter CLIII-A and CLIII-B enabled his soul to avoid capture in the net of the snarer of souls. Chapter CLIV is an address to Osiris in which the deceased says, “I shall not decay, nor rot, nor putrefy, nor become worms, nor see corruption. I shall have my being, I shall live, I shall flourish, I shall rise up in peace.” Chapters CLV-CLXVII is spells which were engraved on the amulets, giving the deceased the protection of Ra, Osiris, Isis, Horus, and other gods. The remaining Chapters (CLXVIII-CXC) are of a miscellaneous character, and few of them are found in more than one or two papyri of the Book of the Dead. A few contain hymns that are not older than the 18th dynasty, and one is an extract from the text on the Pyramid of Unas (lines 379-399). The most interesting is, perhaps, Chapter CLXXV, which describes the Tuat as airless, waterless, and lightless. In this chapter the deceased is assured of immortality in the words, “Thou shalt live for millions of millions of years, a life of millions of years.”

REFERENCE:

Title: The Book of the Dead (1920)

BY: E. A. Wallis Budge (Department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities, British Museum.)

CONTRIBUTOR: Cade Pomeraan