Entering into Light: part one

An occult investigation of the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead in three parts


It is popularly thought by Egyptologists that in religious matters the ancient Egyptians were unsophisticated simpletons 'obsessed with death.' This is completely wrong, as we shall see during this new three-part investigation of what is known as the Book of the Dead. This name is a translation of the German Ägyptisches Totenbuch — first coined by Karl Richard Lepsius who, in 1842, published a translation of a manuscript dated to the Ptolemaic era. It was also Lepsius who introduced the custom of calling the various sections of the book 'spells', a convention which has been continued to this day by almost all Egyptologists. One notable exception is Sir Ernest Alfred Thompson Wallis Budge (1857-1934), one-time Keeper of the Department of Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum in London. E. A. Wallis Budge as he is more generally known, used the word chapter, and rightly so, as we shall see later on. Unlike his contemporaries, Budge realized that far from being 'obsessed with death' the ancient Egyptians worshipped Life. All their efforts, as we discussed in our article on The Temple of Man, were directed towards the preservation of life, both on Earth and in the afterlife. Hence, a better title for the book would be the Book of the Living, not the dead! Even Wikipedia, which we cordially dislike, correctly tells us that the closest translations of the Egyptian title of the book are the "Book of Coming Forth by Day or Book of Emerging Forth into the Light." These are both translations of the Egyptian phrase Pert em hru.

It is for these reasons that we have chosen the phrase Entering into Light as the title of this investigation, as this is a better indication of the contents of the book than the title by which it is commonly known. Budge tells us in his Preface to his edition of the book, "the title is merely a translation 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' (plural). These men knew nothing of the contents of such a papyrus 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." Most Egyptologists know 'nothing of the contents' of this book either, as Budge laments: "It has been the fashion during the last few years among certain writers on Egyptology to decry the Book of the Dead and to announce as a great discovery that the hieroglyphic and hieratic texts thereof are corrupt..." This is even truer today than it was when he wrote these words more than 100 years ago. What this eminent Egyptologist says next is well worth quoting in full. "The pious Egyptian, whether king or ploughman, queen or maid-servant, lived with the teaching of the Book of the Dead before his eyes, and he was buried according to its directions, and he based his hope of everlasting life and happiness upon the efficacy of its hymns and prayers, and words of power. By him its Chapters were not regarded as materials for grammatical exercises, but as all-powerful guides along the road which, passing through death and the grave, led into the realms of light and life, and into the presence of the divine being Osiris, the conqueror of death, who made men and women to be born again." This is the reason we have decided to investigate some parts of the book. We say some, for it is not possible to discuss all of it as the complete texts of the Book of the Dead comprise nearly 200 separate chapters. But we hope to say enough to enable the sincere seeker to learn what awaits man after death according to the ancient Egyptians, and to benefit from the many occult truths found in the book.

There are several editions of the Egyptian Book of the Dead made by various translators over the years. For this investigation we have used the edition made by E. A. Wallis Budge, published by the Medici Society in two volumes in 1913. This was a faithful facsimile of Budge's earlier two volume edition of 1895. See our note to our review of The Book of the Dead for further information about the various editions of the book. Budge used the Papyrus of Ani for his great work, "which is the largest, the most perfect, and the best illuminated of all the papyri containing copies of the Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead," as he declares with perfect justice. We are in no doubt that his translation is the best ever produced. It is essentially a literal one which follows the hieroglyphic text very closely. Budge did this quite deliberately so that "the reader may judge the contents of the book for himself," as he states in his preface. This is the polar opposite of modern translations by Raymond Faulkner and others which, in attempting to make the book more comprehensible to contemporary readers, have produced a paraphrase of the text which may be more sophisticated, but almost entirely eliminates any occult meaning. This is the reason we have used Budge's translation, commentary and notes in preference to any others. So, if you wish to follow our analysis please obtain one of the editions recommended in our review of the book.

We have deliberately waited several years before tackling the Book of the Dead. We needed to discuss other aspects of the Egyptian Wisdom, religion and mythology first. You can find a complete list of these previous articles in the Further reading list at the end of the sidebar, as well as on our Homepage. Even with this groundwork, our present investigation can only uncover a fraction of the occult knowledge, truth and wisdom in the book. Quite apart from the purely esoteric content, there is another, equally great stumbling-block to the comprehension of the work, and that is the frequent reference to the many gods and goddesses of Egypt and the complex mythology which underpins the entire narrative. It is no exaggeration to say that it would take several years of study of the religion and mythology of ancient Egypt, as well as some knowledge of the hieroglyphic language, to fully grasp the meaning of the book. As we don't have several years at our disposal we must be content with providing the reader with the bare bones of the work and an explanation of some of the occult truths it contains.

As is our usual practice with long articles, this investigation is being published in three separate parts at two-monthly intervals, beginning with this first part in July 2023. Part two was published in September and part three will follow two months later in November. In this first part we discuss the discovery of the Papyrus of Ani by Budge, the antiquity of the Book of the Dead and the problems of interpretation the texts raise. In part two we shall analyse the Hymn to Ra and part of The Chapters of Coming Forth by Day. In the third and final part we shall complete our analysis of this chapter and conclude our investigation with a survey of Chapter CX, The Chapters of Sekhet-Hetepet, meaning 'fields of Peace'. Some readers may be disappointed that we are only analysing three chapters in a book that contains nearly 200, even though some of them are very short. But, as we said above, it is simply not possible to do more in the time and space available. In our customary afterword, we relate the story of Isis and Osiris and their son Horus in our own words, taken from the texts to be found in the papyri and on the monuments of Egypt, and in Plutarch's treatise De Iside et Osiride. This too, is being published in three parts.

Ani and Tutu in the Other World

Papyrus of Ani. — Ani and Tutu in the Other World — gouache on papyrus, ca. 1500 B.C.

The discovery of the papyrus by Budge

The Papyrus of Ani was acquired for the British Museum by Budge in 1888. Widely regarded by his contemporaries as the leading English Egyptologist of his day, Budge worked for the museum for more than forty years, acquiring many of its finest treasures and writing over 100 books and monographs about Egypt, Chaldea and Assyria. His output was not only vast but varied. He wrote for everyone, from enthusiastic amateurs to students and eminent scholars. Today he is largely regarded with indifference if not outright contempt and opprobrium. The British Museum dismisses his enormous contribution to Egyptology with these harsh words: "Budge ignored major developments made in the fields of transcription, grammar and lexicography, and was neglectful in matters of archaeology and provenance. Although he was an active collector, his publications fell behind contemporaneous scholarly standards and are now extremely outdated. Today, university students are strongly advised not to use them, because of their basic errors of fact and methodology." The writer can personally vouch for the accuracy of this judgement. For when, during one of his many visits to the British Museum in the 1980's, he made the mistake of asking the then senior research assistant, Carole Andrews, why the museum shop didn't have any books by Budge, an expression of horror and repugnance replaced the smile on her face. When she regained her composure she muttered "he is not liked," in a manner that made it clear there was no point in pursuing the question. One could say that the free-spirited Budge was an early casualty of the fashionable modern cult of 'cancellation'!

Sir E. A. Wallis Budge (1857-1934)

This gifted Egyptologist was born in Bodmin, in Cornwall in 1857. Abandoned by a father he never knew, he was brought up by his impoverished single mother. One might think these disadvantages would endear him to posterity, but alas his scholarly 'sins' are considered too heinous to redeem him in the eyes of his modern peers. The young Budge left school at twelve, but through determination, genius and sheer hard work became one of the leading Egyptologists of his generation. He himself, looking back in later life, saw his illustrious career almost mapped out for him. "Love for the East and for the things of the East was born in me," he writes in his biography, By Nile and Tigris. Budge had many mentors, most notable among them, Samuel Birch (1813-1885), the then Keeper of Oriental Antiquities at the British Museum, who encouraged the unusually talented youth to study cuneiform tablets under his supervision. During this period Budge was earning his living as a clerk in a stationers warehouse, and spent his lunch breaks at the nearby St. Paul's studying Assyrian texts. His diligence attracted the attention of the cathedral organist, the popular Victorian composer John Stainer, who was keen to help the budding scholar. With the support of many influential helpers which included the British Prime Minister of the day, William Ewart Gladstone, Budge was able to go to Cambridge University in 1878 and receive the full-time formal education he had missed. Upon his graduation in 1883 he became an assistant in the British Museum's Department of Oriental Antiquities. In 1894 he was promoted to keeper in what was then, after reorganisation, the Department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities. There he stayed until he retired in 1924, laden with honorary doctorates from the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Durham, as well as the knighthood bestowed on him by King George V in 1920.

Budge discovered the Papyrus of Ani during one of his frequent trips to Egypt on behalf of the British Museum in search of antiquities. The precious roll was discovered among the spoils of a band of tomb robbers trading in looted antiquities in Luxor in 1888. After some hard bargaining Budge bought the papyrus and concealed it in one the houses of the robbers together with other valuable objects purchased from them. No sooner had he done so than the Egyptian police arrived, probably tipped off by one of the members of the gang who thought that he'd kill several birds with one stone by stealing the loot back, keeping it for himself and eliminating his rival claimants — all at the same time — so proving the old adage that there is no honour (but plenty of cunning) among thieves! The police went on to arrest several 'antiquities dealers', a popular euphemism of the time for the bands of brigands who roamed Egypt in search of treasure. Their houses were sealed up and guards were stationed in front of them, including the one Budge had unwisely chosen to store his purchases. Unfazed by these setbacks, the enterprising Egyptologist distracted the policemen by buying them a slap-up supper while locals he could trust tunnelled under the walls of the house to retrieve the objects, including the Papyrus of Ani. When the coast was clear, Budge disguised his precious finds in specially made containers, and smuggled them out of Egypt under the noses of the authorities and into the grateful hands of the principal librarian at the British Museum.

The antiquity of the book

The origin and early history of the Book of the Dead is unknown. Whether it was composed by the inhabitants of Egypt, who recorded the texts in hieroglyphic characters, or whether they were imported by unknown immigrants, or whether again they represent the religious books of the Egyptians incorporated with the funeral texts of some prehistoric dwellers on the banks of the Nile, are all questions which no Egyptologist has yet been able to answer. We doubt they ever will. Occult science, on the other hand, affirms that these occult teachings, for such they are, were brought to Egypt by Atlantean colonists at a remote period of time, long before the Dynastic age. When and how they were codified, and by whom, is also unknown, but it is clear that they were the origin of the Book of the Dead as it later came to be known. The greater part of the texts are far older than the period of Mena (Menes), who is believed to have been the first historical king of Egypt. Budge thought that: "certain sections appear to belong to an indefinitely remote and primeval time." He goes on to tell us that: "The earliest texts bear within themselves proofs, not only of having been composed, but also of having been revised, or edited, long before the days of king Mena, and judging from many passages in the copies inscribed in hieroglyphics upon the pyramids of Unas (the last king of the Vth dynasty, about B.C. 3333), and Teta, Pepi I., Mer-en-Ra, and Pepi II (kings of the VIth dynasty, about B.C. 3300-3166), it would seem that, even at that remote date, the scribes were perplexed and hardly understood the texts which they had before them. The most moderate estimate makes certain sections of the Book of the Dead as known from these tombs older than three thousand years before Christ." Again, we agree with this honest and meticulous scholar. Budge goes on to explain: "In the reign of Mycerinus some important work seems to have been undertaken in connection with certain sections of the text of the Book of the Dead, for the rubrics of Chapters XXXb ('The Chapter of not letting the heart of a man be taken from him') and CXLVIII ('The Chapter of providing food in the Other World') state that these compositions were found inscribed upon 'a block of iron of the south in letters of real lapis-lazuli under the feet of the majesty of the god in the time of the King of the North and South Men-kau-Ra, by the royal son Herutataf, triumphant." Mycerinus was the Greek name of Men-kau-Ra, the sixth king of the IVth dynasty, who flourished around 2,500 B.C.

Given that iron was always very rare in Egypt, the fact that these Chapters were inscribed on a 'slab' of this precious metal shows that the texts of the Book of the Dead were highly prized, suggesting, as Budge thought, that they were indefinitely old. Their extreme age finds further corroboration in the fact that not only in the pyramids of Unas and Teta, but also in those of Pepi I and his immediate successors, we find selected passages from the book. This suggests that even in those early times, the texts were so well-known and extensive that it was thought quite sufficient even for a king to select only those Chapters, or even parts of them, which would secure his welfare in the next world. Simply put, one cannot extract individual pages from a book that doesn't exist. Hence, we may say that apart from such sacred texts as the Stanzas of Dzyan which H. P. Blavatsky drew upon for her masterwork — The Secret Doctrine — the Egyptian Book of the Dead is probably the oldest book in the world, and certainly the oldest which has not been altered or revised since the Papyrus of Ani was made which, according to Budge, was no later than 1400 B.C. and possibly as early as 1500 B.C.

There were three Recensions (meaning revisions or versions) of the Book of the Dead, for the use of kings, nobles and priests.

  1. The Heliopolitan Recension. This was edited by the priests of the College of Anu (the On of the Bible, and the Heliopolis of the Greeks), and was based upon a series of texts now lost. It is found cut in hieroglyphics upon the walls of the chambers and the corridors of the pyramid tombs of certain kings of the Vth and VIth dynasties, hence known as the 'Pyramid Texts'. The Heliopolitan Recension represents the theology promulgated by the priests of Ra, the Sun-God, but all the essential elements in it, with the exception of the solar doctrines, are derived from primitive and probably pre-dynastic sources. 'Primitive' as we have pointed out in other articles, does not mean crude or unsophisticated in the modern, vernacular sense of the word, but the first, or earliest form of something — in this case the occult teachings which were the source and foundation of the Book of the Dead.
  2. The Theban Recension which forms the subject of this investigation. This was commonly written on papyri and painted on coffins in hieroglyphics and was divided into sections or chapters, each of which had its distinct title but no definite place in the series. This was the version in use from the XVIIIth to the XXIInd dynasty. This version was also written upon papyri in the hieratic (cursive hieroglyphic) script.
  3. The so-called Saite Recension which was mostly used from the XXVIth dynasty to the end of the Ptolemaic Period (i.e. from about 650 B.C. to 30 B.C. It was written upon coffins, papyri, in all three Egyptian scripts, i.e., hieroglyphs, hieratic and demotic. At some period prior to the XXVIth dynasty, the chapters were arranged in a definite order.

The Papyrus of Ani is undated, and Budge tells us: "it is impossible to collect from it any exact data whereby it might be assigned to the reign of any particular king." After making a careful comparison with other papyri of the same period of the XVIIIth dynasty, he concludes that it was produced between 1450 B.C. and 1400 B.C." We see no reason to disagree with him. Although the Papyrus of Ani contains less than half the chapters which formed the complete body of all the texts comprised in the Book of the Dead, Ani's status as "veritable royal scribe," a title that could only be bestowed by the king, and his exalted position as Overseer of the ecclesiastical revenues and endowments of all the temples of Thebes and Abydos, ensured it included all that an educated Egyptian needed in order to gain salvation in this life and the next. We know nothing of the birth and parentage of Ani. The absence of any reference to his history or the reign of any particular king suggests that he was not of noble birth and that his family was undistinguished. And yet he must have been an exceptional man to have reached the high position in the government of Egypt to which his titles and duties attest. His wife, Tutu, is called 'lady of the house', and shemat en Amen, meaning 'singing woman of Amen'. Her title means that she was one of the ladies of noble family who were officially attached to the service of the god Amen-Ra at Thebes. She would have attended services in the temple to which only the priests and nobility were admitted, and was one of the ladies of the choir who sang hymns to Amen and portions of the Liturgy. Hence it is possible that Ani owed his high offices to the influence of his wife. If so, the byword cherchez la femme ('seek the woman') was already well-established long before Alexandre Dumas came up with the expression in the 19th century!

Problems of interpretation

We have seen in previous investigations how difficult it is to interpret sacred texts of all kinds to extract their hidden sense. These difficulties are compounded when it comes to ancient Egypt owing to the complexity of the language which, despite two centuries of study, is still poorly understood. The reason for this was given in our article about the Wisdom of the Druids when we explained that the Egyptian language consisted of three distinct modes of expression and revelation: the Hieroglyphic; the Hieratic or cursive; and the Demotic. The first was the exclusive province of the Hierophant and his immediate circle, the second was employed by the initiated Priesthood and the third by the common people. The significance of this is entirely lost on Egyptologists who believe wrongly that each mode is derived from, and is a development of, the other. Hence, they believe that Hieratic was a development of Hieroglyphic which later evolved into the flowing script known as Demotic. This, despite the fact that the word 'Hieratic' is derived from the Greek hieratiká — literally 'priestly' and 'Demotic' from the Greek dēmotikós meaning 'popular' or 'common' writing. The loss of this triple key explains why even gifted and intuitive scholars such as Budge are unaware that every ancient Egyptian text is capable of three interpretations; namely, the literal, corresponding to the Demotic; the hidden or occult, corresponding to the Hieratic; and the transcendent or Supreme Wisdom, corresponding to the Hieroglyphic which could be understood only by the Hierophant and his immediate circle of Adepts.

Only hieroglyphic, derived from the Greek word hierós, meaning sacred or holy, being composed almost entirely of pictograms, is fully capable of conveying metaphysical allegories in symbolic form. Hieratic, the letter forms of which crudely mimic the hieroglyphs upon which it is based, can only convey a more restricted range of (hidden) meaning, while demotic is no better or worse than any other cursive script in conveying occult truths in written form. It is for this reason that only the lowest or literal meaning of the Book of the Dead is accessible to most Egyptologists and readers. The two higher and deeper meanings can only be understood with the aid of the keys of symbolism, allegory and metaphor as we have repeatedly pointed out in several of our articles, notably our investigation of the Mystery Language. We discuss the iconography of the hieroglyph for the goddess Isis in part three of our afterword, so readers interested in exploring the hidden meaning of these glyphs further will find additional hints and tips therein. To see just how little modern Egyptologists understand of the real meaning of the Book of the Dead we shall examine the first few lines of Chapter XV which contains the Hymn to Ra. First the translation made by Raymond Faulkner in 1972, with additions by Ogden Goelet, as published in the Egyptian Book of the Dead issued by Chronicle Books, USA in 1994. This is followed by Budge's translation of 1895. Please note that there is nearly 100 years between these two translations.

Hymn to Ra the Sun-God

Anon. — The Boat of the Sun sailing across the sky — gouache on board. 1988.

Introductory Hymn to the Sun-God Re

Worship of Re when he rises in the eastern horizon of the sky by Ani. "He says: Hail to you, you having come as Khepri, even Khepri who is the creator of the gods. You rise and shine on the back of your mother (the sky), having appeared in glory as King of the gods. Your mother Nut shall use her arms on your behalf in making greeting. The Manu-mountain receives you in peace, Maat embraces you at all seasons. May you give power and might in vindication — and a coming forth as a living soul to see Horakhty — to the Ka of Ani.

"He says: O all you gods of the Soul-mansion who judge sky and earth in the balance, who give food and provisions; O Tatenen, Unique One, creator of mankind; O Southern, Northern, Western, and Eastern Enneads, give praise to Re, Lord of the Sky, the Sovereign who made the gods. Worship him in his goodly shape when he appears in the Day-bark. May those who are above worship you, may those who are below worship you, may Thoth and Maat write to you daily; your serpent-foe has been given over to the fire and the rebel-serpent is fallen, his arms are bound, Re has taken away his movements, and the Children of Impotence are nonexistent."

Quite why so many modern Egyptologists insist on calling the Sun-God 'Re' or even 'Rey' when the hieroglyphs that spell out his name comprise of a long 'ā' not 'e', is a mystery that will perplex the writer to the end of his days. But we digress. Having subjected our guiltless readers to Faulkner's truly dire translation let us cleanse our palates with the elegant and harmonious prose of Budge. We repeat, this was made almost 100 years earlier!

A Hymn to Ra the Sun-God

"A Hymn of Praise to Ra when He Riseth in the Eastern Part of Heaven: Behold, the Osiris Ani, the scribe of the holy offerings of all the gods, saith: Homage to thee, O thou who hast come as Khepera, Khepera the creator of the gods. Thou art seated on thy throne (or, thou art crowned), thou risest up in the sky, illumining thy mother Nut, thou art seated on thy throne as the king of the gods. Thy mother Nut stretcheth out her hands, and performeth an act of homage to thee. The domain of Manu receiveth thee with satisfaction. The goddess Maat embraceth thee at the two seasons of the day (i.e., at morn and at eve). May Ra give glory, and power, and truth-speaking, and the appearance as a living soul so that he may gaze upon Heru-khuti, to the Ka of the Osiris the Scribe Ani, who speaketh truth before Osiris.

"And who saith: Hail, O all ye gods of the House of the Soul, who weigh heaven and earth in a balance, who give celestial food [to the dead]. Hail, Tatun, [who art] One, thou creator of mortals [and] of the companies of the gods of the South and of the North, of the West and of the East. Ascribe ye praise to Ra, the lord of heaven, the King, Life, Strength and Health [be to him], the maker of the gods. Give ye thanks unto him in his beneficent form which is enthroned in the Atett Boat. Beings celestial praise thee, beings terrestrial praise thee. Thoth and the goddess Maat mark out thy course for thee day by day and every day. Thine enemy the Serpent hath been given over to the fire. The Serpent-Fiend Sebau hath fallen headlong, his forelegs are bound in chains, and his hind legs hath Ra carried away with him."

As we have said, nearly 100 years separate these two translations. Is Faulkner's translation an improvement over Budge's? In the words of the British Museum, quoted earlier, does Budge's translation "fall behind contemporaneous scholarly standards," and is it now "extremely outdated"? It is quite clear to us that Budge's version is a faithful translation of the hieroglyphic text that preserves its hidden sense. Faulkner and his acolyte Ogden Goelet, in trying to 'improve' the text to suit the sensibilities of modern readers, have succeeded in turning a magnificent panegyric into pedestrian gibberish without much meaning at all. salute We need only compare Faulkner's line "Your mother Nut shall use her arms on your behalf in making greeting" with Budge's "Thy mother Nut stretcheth out her hands, and performeth an act of homage to thee," to see the very great difference between these two translations. Faulkner paints a picture of some excitable single mum waving her arms about to greet her 'mates' in a nightclub! Budge, on the other hand, clearly depicts the sober two-handed salute given by both gods and mortals shown in a detail from a vignette from the Papyrus of Ani at left. Later on, it gets much worse. Faulkner's "Thoth and Maat write to you daily," is nowhere found in the hieroglyphic text.

This reminds us of a letter, written in excellent Latin by 'Mary Virgin' — the 'Mother of God' — to the pious faithful in the Cathedral of Messina, in Sicily. H. P. Blavatsky gives us an English translation of this somewhat unconvincing Catholic 'miracle' in Vol. II of Isis Unveiled which ends with the following preposterous lines:

"In sign of this compact, I send you down from Heaven the image of myself, cast by celestial hands, and if ye hold it in the honour to which it is entitled, it will be an evidence to me of your obedience and your faith.
Farewell. Dated in Heaven, whilst sitting near the throne of my son, in the month of December, of the 1534th year from his incarnation."

The letter is signed "Mary Virgin." Blavatsky goes on to tell us that the authenticity of the letter is attested by no less a luminary than the Bishop of Messina himself, his Vicar-General, Secretary, and six Canons of the Cathedral Church of Messina, all of whom have signed that attestation with their names, and confirmed it upon oath that: "Both the epistle and image were found upon the high altar, where they had been placed by angels from heaven." If we wished to be uncharitable we might conclude that Faulkner chose the word 'write' to convince the reader that the Egyptians shared the same superstitions as 16th century Catholics, so proving that they were unsophisticated simpletons obsessed with death, as we mentioned at the very beginning of our investigation!

Budge, on the other hand, translates this line as: "Thoth and the goddess Maat mark out thy course for thee day by day and every day." As you will see, the meaning is completely different. Thoth and Maat, stand for spiritual guidance and instruction in the right way of living, there is no suggestion that the deceased is in actual communication with them. It is unforgivable errors like this which make modern translations of Egyptian texts practically worthless for anyone who seriously wishes to understand the Religion, Mythos and Theology of Egypt. Cynics might say this despoliation of Sacred Writ is quite deliberate as we suggested just now, for we find it in modern translations of the Bible too. Perhaps they are right; we should not like to say. What we can say is that if you wish to know what the Egyptians really said, thought and believed, Budge is the only author we know who comes close to understanding the Book of the Dead. Do not be misled by online 'authorities' like Wikipedia which, parroting the worthies of the British Museum, says that Budge's books "were not too reliable when they first appeared and are now woefully outdated." We have just given you an example of an 'up-to-date' translation of an Egyptian text and compared it with Budge's 'outdated' version so you may judge for yourself which is the more 'reliable.' Perhaps the real reason Budge is now so out of favour in Egyptological circles is his interest in the occult. Wikipedia, with the characteristic smugness for which it is justifiably loathed by all right-thinking people, goes on to carp: "Budge was also interested in the paranormal, and believed in spirits and hauntings. He told his many friends stories of hauntings and other uncanny experiences." Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. No wonder sensible scholars regard him as "hopelessly outdated" and his translations as "notoriously bad" as another thoroughly 'up-to-date' and politically correct Egyptologist has stated. The fact that Budge was a close, life-long friend of the writer Rider Haggard with whom he used to have long discussions about occult subjects, seals his fate in the eyes of modern Egyptologists.

We, on the other hand, who also believe in 'spirits and hauntings', have the greatest respect for the scholarship of Budge whom we regard as a genuine Master in the true sense of the word, that is: a man who came to Earth with a great mission which he fulfilled, writing almost to the very last day of his life, and bringing order out of the chaos of ancient wisdom in many obscure but fascinating languages of the East. Here the writer must admit to a certain bias, for it was the books of Budge, specifically First Steps in Egyptian (1895), his Egyptian Reading Book (1896), and his Egyptian Language (1910) which taught me the rudiments of the Egyptian language. Some of these books are still available second-hand should interested readers wish to take up the study of ancient Egyptian. It is rather ironic that despite the many attacks made upon the good name and reputation of this remarkable man over the years, his books still outsell the works of his modern detractors ten to one. Should you doubt us, you need only search for 'E. A. Wallis Budge' on Amazon's website to verify this fact for yourself. Stranger still, many of his books are still in print, more than 100 years after they were first published!

In part two, when we come to analyse the occult meaning of the Hymn to Ra, you will be truly amazed at the sublime truths it conceals in plain sight. Meanwhile, we shall now explain some of the terms mentioned in the above extracts for the benefit of those readers who know little or nothing about the Book of the Dead. In his footnotes to the Hymn to Ra Budge tells us that Khepera was self-produced. "He was the father of the gods, and men and women sprang from the tears that fell from his eyes upon his members, and so became sources of life." This, it goes without saying, is not to be taken literally, 'tears' being a symbol for the fluid of Life, or creative energy. His name means 'he who existeth', 'he who is', while the verb kheper means 'to evolve' and 'to become'. We shall have more to say about Khepera in part two of our investigation.

Our next term is the goddess Nut, the female form of Nu, the god of the mass of celestial water. The latter is faithfully reproduced in Genesis where he is designated "the Spirit of God" moving upon "the face of the waters." Nut, on the other hand, represented the sky, or rather the 'waters' which were above the firmament, as we may read in verse 7 of Genesis. "And God [Khepera] made the firmament [Nut], and divided the waters which were under the firmament [Nu] from the waters which were above the firmament [Nut]: and it was so." The words in parenthesis are ours. Now, it is not our intention to undermine the simple faith of anyone in the literal truth of the Bible, but we would be remiss in the duty we owe to state the occult truth and nothing but the occult truth if we failed to point out the parallels between the Bible and the Egyptian cosmogenesis. The separation of Nut from Nu and the subsequent appearance of Geb (the Earth) is reproduced in countless vignettes in the Egyptian religious papyri, as well as in the Chaldean account of the creation of the world, both predating Genesis by many millennia. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that the Christian cosmogenesis is a recapitulation of what was known and taught in Egypt from the earliest times. In verses 9 and 10 of Genesis chapter one we may read: "And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth..." Only a purblind bigot could fail to see that one account is copied from the other. As the Egyptian Book of the Dead is infinitely older than the Old Testament, it must be the original of Genesis, and not the other way around, as some Biblical scholars have asserted.

Our third term is Manu or 'Manu-mountain' as Faulkner translates it. Budge tells us that "Manu is a name for the west, and for the whole of the region where the sun sets, just as Bakha is a name for the east, and for the whole region where the sun rises." In short it is a collective noun for the Other World, also known as the Tuat and Amentet, or the various planes and sub-planes of the astral world discussed in the seventh article of our Occult Studies Course. Maat is the personification of righteousness, truth, and justice, and she stood as the type of absolute regularity, order and moral rectitude. She was the daughter of Ra, the Sun-god, and the female counterpart of Thoth, whom she assisted in carrying out the work of creation which had been conceived in the mind of Khepera. From a moral point of view her chief duty was to assist at the judgement of the souls of the dead as we saw in our investigation of the Weighing of the Heart. She invariably appears in the form of a woman, and her symbol is the ostrich feather, which she wears on her head. The symbolism of Maat embracing Ra at the 'two seasons of the day' is obvious, or we hope so, for it is inconceivable that the Sun-God would be deprived of righteousness, truth, and justice at any time.

The scribe Ani who is reciting the Hymn to Ra in the Other World asks that the Sun-God may him give glory, and power, and truth-speaking. The latter hyphenated term is Budge's translation of the Egyptian words maa kheru for which we have no direct equivalent in English. This has given rise to the wildest of speculations among Egyptologists past and present. Wikipedia, never a reliable source for even the most prosaic of queries, does not disappoint in defining maa kheru as "justified." In this it is merely parroting the opinions of most mainstream Egyptologists who have translated it as 'triumphant', 'blessed' and the like. Wikipedia goes one better, or worse, depending on one's point of view, by proffering the prolixious, but equally erroneous definition that "the acclaim given to him is right." Budge, with his customary simplicity and good sense tells us that maa kheru literally means "true of speech." We agree; why complicate matters? Unless the deceased speaks truth, judgement will be found against him and he will not enter into the blessed realm, but be sent back to Earth to learn better! We would add that it is quite impossible to lie to the judges who confront us after death, for they are none other than our own lower and Higher selves whose thoughts and acts appear as transparent as glass before the unwinking eyes of our own Soul. It is he who decides our fate and he can no more be cheated, propitiated or misled than God himself.

The term Heru-khuti or Horakhty as Faulkner renders it, means "Horus of the two horizons," the Harmakhis of the Greeks. The two horizons refer to Bakha and Manu, the most easterly and westerly points of the sun's course, and the regions wherein he rose and set. As the god of the noon-day sun he is called "Ra Heru-khuti," and as the god of the setting sun "Temu Heru-khuti." The Sphinx at Giza was dedicated to him as the god of the rising sun. We shall discuss the occult significance of these 'two horizons' in part two for they have a deeper meaning than the merely geographical. We explained the meaning of the Egyptian principle of the Ka in our investigation of the Berlin Papyrus 3024, so will not repeat ourselves except to say that it represented those aspects of the lower mind that possess the potential for continued existence after the death of the body. See also part four of Astral Conversations in which Bombast and Flitterflop discuss consciousness after death.

There are only a few further terms we will quickly review. "Celestial food" has several meanings. It may refer to the actual food consumed in the Other World or to spiritual nourishment and teaching of various kinds, similar to the Biblical 'Manna'. Tatun, also rendered Taten, Tatenen and Tathenen was a very ancient god of the Earth, later identified with Geb and associated with Ptah in the creation of gods and men. The Atett Boat or 'Day bark' as Faulkner insists on translating the hieroglyphs is the mythological vessel in which Ra journeyed across the sky during the day. The vessel he transferred to during the night was called the Sektet Boat. We have discussed the god Thoth at great length in several articles, so please use our Search Engine to find these discussions if you know little or nothing about him. The 'Serpent' and 'Serpent-fiend Sebau' are personifications of chaos and darkness in the macrocosm and our old friend the lower mind or self in the microcosm, as well as negative beings and conditions of all kinds. The "Sons of Revolt" which for some bizarre reason known only to himself Faulkner chose to translate as "Children of Impotence," belong to the category of fiends and inferior devils who revolt against the gods in carrying out the commands of Set. Their principal work consisted in sowing seeds of doubt, discontent and evil in the minds of men and women, and of attempting to overthrow the Sun-God. In later times they became pure powers of evil from a moral and spiritual point of view. We shall have reason to discuss them again later on in our investigation. Meanwhile, interested readers may learn more about the Sons of Revolt and their activities in our story of the Jihadi and the Jinn as well as in Symphonie Fantastique by J. Michaud PhD.

Isis and Osiris

Papyrus of Ani. — Osiris, Isis and Nephthys — gouache on papyrus, ca. 1500 B.C.


In part two of this investigation published in September 2023, we began our analysis proper, commencing with Chapter XV, 'A Hymn of Praise to Ra when He riseth in the Eastern part of Heaven'. In part three to be published in November we shall complete our analysis of this chapter and conclude our investigation with a survey of Chapter CX, The Chapters of Sekhet-Hetepet, meaning 'fields of Peace'.


© Copyright occult-mysteries.org. Article published 16 July 2023.

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