The mythology repeated in the Ritual is mainly solar and Osirian, but with glimpses of the lunar and the stellar mythos from the beginning. For example, Apt the ancient genetrix, as goddess of the Great Bear constellation, and leader of the heavenly host, was the kindler of the starry sparks by night in the mythology. In the eschatology she is continued as the mistress of divine protections for the soul, and she who had been the kindler of the lights in the darkness of night was now propitiated as rekindler of life from the spark in the dark of death (Rit., ch. 137B). Ra in the mythos is the solar god represented by the sun in heaven, and in the eschatology he became the god in spirit who is called the holy spirit and first person in the trinity which consisted of Atum the father god, Horus the son, and Ra the holy spirit; the three that were also one
in the Osirian cult, first as three forms of the solar god and next as three forms of the god in spirit. It is thus we are enabled to trace the formation of the Egyptian eschatology in the mould of the mythology.
There is no death in the Osirian religion, only decay and change, and periodic renewal; only evolution and transformation in the domain of matter and the transubstantiation into spirit. In the so-called death of Osiris it is rebirth, not death, exactly the same as in the changes of external nature. At the close of day the solar orb went down and left the sun god staring blankly in the dark of death. Taht the moon god met him in Amenta with the eye of Horus as the light that was to illuminate the darkness of the subterranean world. In the annual rendering on the third day light was generated by renewal in the moon. Thus Osiris rose again, and a doctrine of the resurrection on the third day was bequeathed to the eschatology. The sun in sinking was buried as a body (or mummy) in the nether world of Amenta. When rising again at dawn it was transformed into a soul, a supreme elemental soul, that preceded the god in spirit. This was in the mythology. In the eschatology the same types were reapplied to the human soul, which was imaged in the flesh as the inarticulate, blind, and impubescent Horus, who died bodily but was preserved in mummy form to make his transformation into the luminous Sahu, when he rose again in glory as Horus the divine adult. “I am the resurrection and the life” is the perfect interpretation of an Egyptian picture that was copied by Denon at Philæ. (Egypt, vol. II, pl. 40, no. 8, p. 54.) (Lundy, fig. 183.) Divine Horus is portrayed in the act of raising the deceased Osiris from the bier by presenting to him the Ankh sign of life. He was the life in person who performed the resurrection, and therefore is “the resurrection and the life.” As such he simply stands for a soul considered to be the divine offspring of god the father, not for any historical character that makes preposterous pretensions to possess miraculous power. Previously he had been the resurrection and the life as solar vivifier in the physical domain, or otherwise stated in the mythology. It was this difference betwixt the mythology and eschatology that constituted the lesser and the greater mysteries. The lesser in their origin were partly sociological. They were the customs and the ceremonial rites of totemism. The greater mysteries are eschatological and religious. For instance, the transformation of the youth into the adult or the girl into a woman in the totemic mysteries was applied doctrinally to the transformation of the soul in the mysteries of Amenta. With the more primitive races, such as the Arunta of Australia, the mysteries remain chiefly totemic and sociological, though interfused with the religious sentiment. The greater mysteries were perfected in the Egyptian religion, to be read of in the Ritual as the mysteries of Amenta.
From the beginning to the end of the written Ritual we shall find it is based upon the mythical representation which was primary. The mythical representation was first applied to the phenomena of external nature, and this mode of representation was continued and
re-applied to the human soul in the eschatology. Egyptian myths, then, are not inventions made to explain the Ritual. Totemic representation was earlier. This mode was continued in the mythology. Ritual arose from the rendering becoming religious in the phase of eschatology, and did not originate as an explanation of mythology and totemism. But not until the different phases are discriminated can the Ritual be read, that which has been founded on it understood, or the mental status of the thinkers ascertained. In the mythology the solar god, who in his primary form was Ptah (Khepr), is the maker of a complete circle for the sun as founder and opener of the nether earth, this solar pathway being a figure of for ever, a type of the eternal working in time. In the eschatology the god in spirit who is Ra the holy spirit is “the god who has created (or opened out) eternity” (Rit., ch. 15). The one is on the physical basis, the other on the spiritual plane. In the mythology the seven primordial powers that pass through various phases, elemental, stellar, or lunar, always in a group of seven, finally become the seven souls of Ra, who attained supremacy as the sun god in mythology and also as the holy spirit. Thence came the doctrine of the seven souls in man, as seven gifts of the holy spirit in the eschatology. In the mythical representation Sothis on New Year’s Day was the bringer forth of the child that was mothered by Hathor or Isis. The type is employed in the eschatology of the Ritual when the Manes in Amenta prays for rebirth as a pure spirit and says, “May I live (or rise up and go forth) from between the closed knees of Sothis.” The rebirth of the child in Sothis was the renewal of the year, Sothis being represented in the feminine character by Hathor as the bringer forth from betwixt her knees or, as elsewhere rendered, her kheptu, i.e., her thighs. So the Manes are reborn from between the thighs of Nut in the mysteries of Amenta, and here the visible birthplace of spirits perfected is localized in Sothis, the opener of the year and bringer of the babe to birth upon the horizon or the mount of glory. In this way the skies of night were made luminous with starry lore in the later eschatology when the mysteries were represented in Amenta. Instead of flashlights showing pictures on the housetops of a city after dark, the stars were used by the Egyptians to illustrate the mysteries that were out of sight. The triumph of Horus over Sut or over the Apap dragon of drought and darkness was illustrated in the stellar mythos when in the annual round Orion rose and the Scorpion constellation set upon the opposite horizon. The Egyptian nearing death could lie and look upon a future figured in the starry heavens. As it was with Osiris or Horus so would it be with him. The way had been mapped out, the guiding stars were visible. His bier or coffin of new birth could be seen in the mesken of the mother. He rose again in spirit as the babe of Sothis. “He joined the company of the holy Sahus” in Orion with the pilot Horus at the look-out of the bark. He saw the golden isles in a heaven of perpetual peace to which the pole was the eternal mooring post. Whilst he was passing from this life the bark of Ra was making ready for his soul to go on board.
The foundation of Amenta itself has yet to be delineated. It is a
tangible threshold to the other world, the secret but solid earth of eternity which was opened up by Ptah when he and his seven Knemmu erected the Tat pillar that was founded in the winter solstice as the figure of a stability that was to be eternal. In the mythos the Tat is a type of the sun in the winter solstice that has the power of returning from the lowest depth and thus completing the eternal road. In the eschatology it is the god in person as Ptah-Sekeri or Osiris, the backbone and support of the universe. Horus erecting the Tat in Sekhem was raising Osiris from the sepulchre, the father re-erected as the son in the typical resurrection and continuity of the human spirit in the after life. The figure of Amsu-Horus rising in the resurrection or “coming forth,” with member erect, has two characters, one in the mythology, one in the eschatology. In the mythology he images the phallus of the sun and the generative force that fecundates the Mother-earth. In the eschatology the image of erection is repeated as a symbol of resurrection, and in this phase the supposed phallic god, the figure of regenerative force, is typical of the resurrection or re-erection of the mortal in spirit.
Horus the child with finger to mouth is portrayed in the sign of the Scales at the autumn equinox, the point at which the sun begins to lessen and become impotent. This the Egyptians termed the “little sun,” which when personified was infant Horus, who sank down into Hades as the suffering sun to die in the winter solstice and be transformed to rise again and return in all his glory and power in the equinox of Easter. This was matter of the solar mythos, also of life in vegetation and in the water of the inundation. In the eschatology Horus the child is typical of the human soul which was incarnated in the blood of Isis, the immaculate virgin, to be made flesh and to be born in mortal guise on earth as the son of Seb, and to suffer all the afflictions of mortality. He descended to Amenta as the soul sinking in the dark of death, and as the soul he was transfigured, changed, and glorified, to rise again and become immortal as a spirit perfected according to the teachings in the eschatology. A brief list will show how certain zootypes that were founded in the mythological representation were continued in the eschatology:—
Type of power.
The beetle ... ... ... ...
= The sun as transformer
= The god as self-evolver
The serpent ... ... ... ...
= Renewal ... ... ... ...
= Eternal life
The ibis ... ... ... ... ...
= Messenger ... ... ...
= Word or logos
The jackal ... ... ... ...
= Seer in the dark ... ...
= Guide in death
The heifer ... ... ... ...
= The moon ... ... ...
= Virgin mother
The hawk ... ... ... ...
= Soul of the sun ... ...
= Ra the divine spirit
Fish, calf, or lamb ... ...
= Youthful solar god re-
born ... ... ... ...
= The messiah
In the mythology the Apap reptile lies in the Lake of Darkness, where the sun goes down, as the eternal adversary of the light with which it is at war all night and all the winter through. He seeks to bar the way of the sun in the nether world. In the eschatology it is the human soul instead of the sun that has to struggle with the
opposing monster in making the passage of Amenta. The same scenery served, as already shown, to illustrate the mystery in a religious and spiritual phase.
Chapter 64 of the Ritual is known to have been extant in the time of King Septi, of the first dynasty, the Usaiphais of Manetho. That was over 6,000 years ago. It is a chapter from the Book of Life “to be recited on coming forth to day, that one may not be kept back on the path of the Tuat, whether on entering or in coming forth; for taking all the forms which one desireth, and that the person may not die a second time.” If this chapter be known, the person is made triumphant on earth (as in the nether world), and he performeth all things which are done by the living. The chapter was then so ancient that it had been lost sight of, and was discovered “on a plinth of the god of the Hennu (or Sekru) bark, by a master builder in the time of King Septi the Victorious.” When this chapter was composed the primary nature powers had been unified in the one god, who was represented as the lord of two faces, who “seeth by his own light,” the “Lord of Resurrections, who cometh forth from the dusk, and whose birth is from the House of Death.” That is, as the solar god who was Atum on one horizon and Horus on the other; hence the lord of two faces. The supreme god thus described is the father in one character, the son in the other. The Manes speaking in the character of the son says of the father, “He is I, and I am he.” At that time the earth had been tunnelled by Ptah and his pigmy workers, and a spirit world created on the new terra firma in the earth of eternity, over which the solar god effused his radiance nightly when he lighted up the Tuat with his indescribable glories (ch. 15). The “Lord of Resurrections” as a solar god had then become the lord of resurrections as the generator of ever-living souls. Egyptian theology, then, was based upon the mythology which preceded it and supplied the mould. So is it with the Hebrew and Christian theology. But here is the difference betwixt them. The mythology remained extant in Egypt, so that the beginnings of the theology could be known and tested, and were known to the mystery teachers, and the origins referred to for the purpose of verification. The commentary which has been partially incorporated with the text of chapter 17 survives to show the development of the theology from mythology and the need of explanations which constituted the gnosis or wisdom of the “mystery teachers of the secret word,” whereas the Hebrew and Christian theologies have been accepted minus the necessary knowledge of the origins, the means of applying the comparative method and checking false assumptions. In Christianity the mysteries have been manufactured out of mist, and it has been taken for granted that the mist was impenetrable and never to be seen through, whereas the mysteries of the Ritual can be followed in the two phases of mythology and eschatology. The main difference betwixt the mythos and the eschatology is that the one is represented in the earth of time, the other in the earth of eternity. And if we take the doctrine of a resurrection from the dead, the soul that rose again at first, in mythology, was a soul of the returning light, a soul of life in vegetation, or other of the
elemental powers; a soul in external nature. For instance, a soul of life, as source of drink, was apprehended in the element of water, seen also in the plant and figured in the fish. The superhuman type was divinized in Horus. A soul of life, as source of breath, was apprehended in the breeze, and imaged as the panting of a lion. The superhuman type was divinized in Shu. A soul of food was apprehended in the earth, and represented by the goose that laid the egg. The superhuman type was divinized in Seb.
In the Masonic and all other known mysteries, ancient or modern, the initiate has his eyes bandaged so that he may enter the reception room blindfold. This figure, in the Egyptian mysteries, is Horus in the dark, sometimes called the blind Horus, An-ar-ef. In the mythos Horus is the sun in the darkness of Amenta and the depths of the winter solstice. He is the prototype of “blind Orion hungering for the morn,” and of Samson “eyeless in Gaza.” The character was founded in the mythical representation of natural phenomena, and was afterwards continued in the eschatology. The same type serves in the two categories of phenomena which are here distinguished as the mythical and the eschatological. In the latter the sightless Horus images the human soul in the darkness of death, where it is blind from lack of outer vision. This duality may serve to explain the twofold rendering of the eyes. According to the hieroglyphic imagery, Horus is without eyes or sightless in one character. He is also portrayed in another as the prince of sight, or of double sight. This, according to the mythos, is a figure of the risen sun and of dawn upon the coffin-lid of Osiris in Amenta. In the eschatology it is Horus, lord of the two eyes, or double vision–that is, of second sight–the seer in spirit with the beatific vision which was attained by him in death. The change from one character to the other is represented in the mysteries by the unbandaging of the initiate’s eyes, which are intentionally dazzled by the glory of the lights. The Egyptian Book of the Dead is the one sole record of this twofold basis of the mysteries.
Enough has now been cited to show the method of the Ritual and the mode in which the eschatology of the Egyptian religion was founded in the mould of the pre-extant mythology. The Book of the Dead is the Egyptian book of life. It is the pre-Christian word of God. This we learn from the account which it gives of itself. It is attributed to Ra as the inspiring holy spirit. Ra was the father in heaven, who has the title of Huhi, the eternal, from which we derive the Hebrew name of Ihuh. The word was given by God the father to the ever-coming son as manifestor for the father. This was Horus, who as the coming son is Iu-sa or Iu-su, and, as the prince of peace, Iu-em-hetep. Horus the son is the Word in person. Hence the speaker in the character of Horus says, “I utter his words–the words of Ra–to the men of the present generation, and I repeat his words to him who is deprived of breath” (ch. 38). That is, as Horus, the sayer or logos, who utters the words of Ra the father in heaven to the living on earth, and to the breathless Manes in Amenta when he descends into Hades or the later hell to preach to the spirits in prison. The word or the sayings thus originated with Ra the father in heaven. They were uttered by Horus the son,
and when written down in hieroglyphics by the fingers of Taht-Aan for human guidance they supplied a basis for the Book of the Dead. It had been ordained by Ra that his words, such as those that bring about “the resurrection and the glory” (Rit., ch. 1), should be written down by the divine scribe Taht-Aan, to make the word truth, and to effect the triumph of Osiris against his adversaries; and it is proclaimed in the opening chapter that this mandate has been obeyed by Taht. The Ritual purports to contain the gnosis of salvation from the second death, together with the ways and means of attaining eternal life, as these were acted in the drama of the Osirian mysteries. Hence the Osiris says that freedom from perdition can be assured by means of this book, in which he trusts and by which he steadfastly abides. The object of the words of power, the magical invocations, the funeral ceremonies, the purgatorial trials, is the resurrection of the mortal to the life which is everlasting. This opening chapter is described as the “words” which bring about the resurrection on the Mount of Glory, and the closing chapters show the deceased upon the summit of attainment. He has joined the lords of eternity in “the circle of Osiris,” and in the likeness of his own human self, the very “figure which he had on earth,” but changed and glorified (ch. 178). Therefore the most exact and comprehensive title for the Book of the Dead now put together in 186 chapters would be “The Ritual of the Resurrection.” The books of the divine words written down by Taht are in the keeping of Horus the son, who is addressed as “him who sees the father.” The Manes comes to him with his copy of the writings, by means of which he prevails on his journey through Amenta, like Pilgrim with his roll. He exclaims: “O thou great seer who beholdest his father! O keeper of the books of Taht! Here am I glorified and filled with soul and power, and provided with the writings of Taht,” the secrets of which are divine for lightening the darkness of the nether earth (Rit., ch. 94). With these the Manes is accoutred and equipped. The Word of god personified in Horus preceded the written word of god and when the words of power were written down by Taht the scribe of truth, they were assigned to Horus as the logia of the Lord, and preserved as the precious records of him who was the word in person; first the word of power as the founder, then the word in truth or made truth, as the fulfiller. The divine words when written constituted the scriptures, earliest of which are those ascribed to Hermes or Taht, the reputed author of all the sacred writings. And now we find that both the word in person and the written word, together with the doctrine of the word according to the ancient wisdom, are more or less extant and living still in the Egyptian Book of the Dead. The magical words of power when written down by Taht became the nucleus of the Ritual, which is late in comparison with the astronomical mythology and other forms of Sign-language, and belongs mainly to the Osirian religion.
The mystical word of power from the first was female. Apt at Ombos was worshipped as “the Living Word.” The supreme type of this power borne upon the head of Shu is the hinder part of a lioness, her sign of sexual potency. The thigh or khepsh of Apt is also the typical Ur-heka, and it is a symbol of the great magical
power. The Ur-heka or magical sign preceded words, and words preceded the writings. Great magical words of power are ascribed to Isis, whose word of power in the human sphere was personified in Horus the child, her word that issued out of silence. This is the word that was made flesh in a mortal likeness, the soul derived from blood. Child-Horus, however, manifests in divers phenomena as the Word-of-Power emaned by Isis, in the water, in vegetation, in food, and lastly in the virgin mother’s blood. The first Horus was the Word-of-Power, the second is the Word-made-Truth in Horus, Ma, t-Kheru, by doing it. Horus the Word-of-Power was the founder, who was followed by Horus the Fulfiller. This title does not merely mean the Word of Truth, the True Logos (Celsus), or the True Voice (Plutarch), but denotes the Word-made-Truth or Law by Horus the Victorious, the father’s own anointed son, who fulfilled the Word of Power. It is Horus the Word-of-Power personalized as a little child who survives as the miraculous worker two or three years old in the apocryphal gospels. He is credited with doing these infantine marvels as the Word-of-Power in person. He also utters the word of power in performing his amazing miracles.
The magical words were orally communicated in the mysteries from mouth to ear, not written to be read. They were to be gotten by heart. In the Book of the Dead memory is restored to the deceased through the words of power that were stored up in life to be remembered in death. The speaker in chapter 90 says: “O thou who restorest memory in the mouth of the dead through the words of power which I possess.” That is, by virtue of the gnosis, memory was restored by the deceased remembering the divine words. Now, Plato taught that a knowledge of past lives in a human pre-existence was restored to persons in this life by means of memory. The origin of the doctrine is undoubtedly Egyptian, but it was made out by a perversion of the original teaching. This restoration of or through memory occurs to the Manes in Amenta after death, and the things remembered appertain to the past life on earth. Plato has misapplied it to the past lives and pre-existence of human beings dwelling on the earth. The words of power were not only spoken. They were likewise represented in the equipment of the mummy, sometimes called its ornaments, such as the word of salvation by the blood of Isis with the red Tet-buckle, the word of durability by the white stone, the word of resurrection by the scarabæus, the word of eternal life by the cross, called the ankh. These were forms of the magical words expressed in fetish figures.