HAVING now described Sekhet-hetep and the Halls and Gates of the Other World according to the Book of Coming Forth by Day (PER-EM-HRU), We may pass on to consider how far souls in Sekhet-hetep had the power to know and recognize each other, and to enjoy intercourse with relatives and friends. From many scenes and passages in texts it has for some time past been clear that husband met wife, and wife met husband again beyond the grave, for in the Papyrus of Ani we see Ani accompanied by his wife in the House of Osiris and in many other places, and in the Papyrus of Anhai 1 we see Anhai bowing before two mummied forms, which represent her father and mother, and seated in a boat side by side with her husband. From the Papyrus of Nebseni 2 we know that the meeting of the deceased with his mother, father, and wife was believed to take place on the island in the first division of Sekhet-hetep called Qenqentet, for he says,
[paragraph continues] "O Qenqentet, I have entered into thee, and I have seen the Osiris (i.e., his father) and I have gazed upon my mother, and had union [with my wife]." 1 Other passages in the PER-EM-HRU indicate that the Egyptian hoped to meet again other people besides his father, mother, and wife, in Sekhet-hetep. Thus in the LIInd Chapter the deceased is made to say, "Let me have the power to manage my own fields in Tattu (Mendes), and my own growing crops in Aunu (Heliopolis). Let me live upon bread made from white grain, and let my beer be made from red grain, and may my ancestors, and my father and my mother be given unto me as guardians of my door and for the ordering of my territory." This petition is repeated in Chapter CLXXXIX., lines 7-9, which was written with the object of preventing a man from being, hungry, and so being obliged to eat filth or offal.
From another passage (Chapter LXVIII., lines 13, 14) it is clear that the deceased expected to find in the Other World slaves, or domestic servants, who would help him to cultivate the land which he believed would be allotted to him, and there is reason for supposing that such beings would have been known to him upon earth. He says, "I have gained the mastery over the
waters, I have gained the mastery over the canal, I have gained the mastery over the river, I have gained the mastery over the furrows, I have gained the mastery over the men who work for me, I have gained the mastery over the women who work for me in Neter-khert, I have gained the mastery over the things which were decreed to me on earth in Neter-khert." Thus we see that every pious Egyptian hoped to live again with the members of his household after death in Sekhet-hetepet.
Now the word which I have rendered "ancestors" in the extract given above is abtu, or abut, and its form and evident meaning suggest a comparison with the common Semitic word for "fathers"; the determinatives prove that the word describes people of both sexes. It occurs twice in the PER-EM-HRU, viz., in Chapter LII., line 6, and Chapter CLXXXIX., line 7, 1 and was translated "persons" by me in 1896; the oldest example of the use of the word was published by M. P. Lacau in Recueil, 1904, p. 67.
The very short form of the prayer of the deceased that he may enjoy the companionship of his father and mother in Sekhet.-hetep is the outcome of a belief which is very ancient; and it finds its fullest expression in an
important Chapter, which M. Lacau has published 1 according to the texts on two coffins of the XIth Dynasty, which were found at Al-Barsha, and are now in the Egyptian Museum at Cairo. 2 This Chapter supplies us with some valuable information concerning the reunion and recognition of relatives and friends in Sekhet-hetep, and M. Lacau's excellent edition of the text is a useful contribution to the literature which specially concerns Sekhet-hetep. The words which stand at the head of the Chapter read, "THE GATHERING TOGETHER OF THE ANCESTORS OF A MAN TO HIM IN NETER KHER," 3 and the text begins:
"Hail, Ra! Hail, Tem! Hail, Seb! Hail, Nut! Grant ye unto Sepa that he may traverse the heavens (or sky), that he may traverse the earth, that he may traverse the waters, that he may meet his ancestors, may meet his father, may meet his mother, may meet his grown up sons and daughters, and his brethren, and his sisters, may meet his friends, both male and female, may meet those who have been as parents to him, 4 and his kinsfolk (cousins?), 5 and those who have worked for him upon earth, both male and female, and may meet the concubine whom he loved and knew."
"Behold, O Qema-ur (i.e., Great Creator), make Sepa to rejoin his grown up sons and daughters, and his concubines whom it is his heart's desire [to meet], and make thou Sepa to rejoin his friends, both male and female, and those who have worked for him upon earth."
"And if it happen that his father should be turned aside, or opposed or removed, when he would appear to him, or his mother when she would reveal herself to him, when Sepa wisheth to rejoin his ancestors, and his father and his mother, and his men and his women, and if it happen that there should be turned aside or opposed, or done away the reunion of Sepa with his little children, or his reunion with his brethren and sisters, and with his friends, and with his foster-parents, and with his kinsfolk, and with those who have worked for him upon earth: then verily the heart which is provided [with words of power] shall be removed from Ra, and the choice oxen for sacrifice shall be driven away from the altars of the gods, and the bread-cakes shall not be shattered, and the white bread-cakes shall not be broken in pieces, the meat-offering shall not be cut up in the divine chamber of sacrifice, and for you ropes shall not be coiled, and for you boats shall not be manned.
"But if he shall be with his father when he appeareth, and if he shall receive his mother when she maketh herself visible, and if he shall be rejoined to his ancestors and to his fathers and his mothers, and his men and his women, and his little
children, and his beloved ones, and his foster-parents, and his kinsfolk, and his [grown-up] sons and daughters, and his concubines, whom it is his heart's desire [to meet], and his friends, and those who have worked for him upon earth; and if he shall rejoin all his ancestors in heaven, and on earth, and in Neter-kher, and in the sky, and in Aakeb (i.e., a region of the sky), and in Hap (the Nile), and in Akeb (i.e. the watery abyss of the sky), and in Het-ur-kau, and in Tetu, and in Tetet (?), and in Pa-ur, and in Abakher, and in Abtu: then verily the bread-cakes shall be shattered, and the white bread-cakes shall be broken in pieces, and verily the meat offerings shall be cut up in the divine chamber of sacrifice, and verily ropes shall be coiled, and verily boats shall be manned, and verily the Boat of Ra shall journey on its way, being rowed by the mariners of the AKHEMU-SEKU and the AKHEMU-URTCHU; now his name is unknown, his name is unknown.
"The goddess Hathor surroundeth Sepa with the magical protection of life, but it is Seb who equippeth him. 1 The sister of Sepa [and] wife [is] the guardian of the wood of the Great Field. 2 And, moreover,
the sister of Sepa, the guardian of the wood of the Great Field, saith, 'Verily thou shalt come with rejoicing, and thy heart shall be glad, and there shall be food to Sepa, and winds shall be given unto thee, yea, thy ancestors have commanded this [to be done]'; therefore shall Sepa come with gladness, and his heart shall be glad, and his ancestors shall be given unto him. And the great ones of the ancestors of Sepa shall come [to meet him] with joy, and their hearts shall be glad when they meet him; and they shall bear in their hands their staves, and their mattocks, and their tools for ploughing, and their metal weapons of the earth, and shall deliver him from the things which the goddess . . . . . . doeth, and from the actions (?) of Nut, and from the mighty things which the Two-Lion 1 God doeth to every soul, and to every god. The ancestors of Sepa shall make him to be delivered . . . . . [RUBRIC]. May be rejoined ancestors, and father, and mother, and foster-parents, and kinsfolk, and young children, and wives, and concubines, and beloved ones (i.e., friends) male and female, and servants (i.e., slaves), and the property of every kind which belongeth to a man, to him in Neter-kher (the Underworld)."
The Rubric ends with the words, "rope of Maat, millions of times," which indicate that the whole Chapter, probably including the Rubric, was to be said by the person who wished to rejoin his friends in the
[paragraph continues] Underworld regularly and unceasingly for millions of times. The phrases shes maat heh en sep occur very often in the Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead, and a full list of the passages will be found in the Vocabulary to my edition of that work, page 328.
A perusal of the above Chapter shows that it is the expression of beliefs and ideas concerning the future life which belong to a very early period of civilization, and to a time when the Egyptians held most primitive views about their gods. The first paragraph calls upon two forms of the Sun-god, and the god of the earth, and the god of the sky, to allow the deceased to pass through the sky, and the earth, and the waters, to meet his ancestors, mother, father, wives, women of pleasure, sons and daughters of all ages, brothers and sisters, foster-Parents (or perhaps uncles and aunts), cousins, connexions, friends of both sexes, "the doers of things," both men and women, etc. Portions of the second paragraph are difficult to render exactly, but it seems that in it the deceased is made to say that in the event of his being prevented from meeting or rejoining his father, mother, and other near and dear relatives and friends, the customary funeral offerings shall be promptly discontinued, and the heart of Ra, which is equipped with its word (of power), shall be removed from him; if, on the other hand, he is made to rejoin all his near and dear relatives and connexions, and is allowed and enabled to travel about and visit them in the various holy cities in heaven, bread and
meat offerings shall be duly made on earth for the gods, and the Boat of Ra shall travel on its way. In other words, the deceased undertakes to provide offerings to the gods whom he mentions so long as he is allowed to rejoin his relatives at will, but if he is hindered in any way, he threatens that the progress of Ra himself shall be hindered, and that the god shall suffer the loss of his heart with its word of power.
The Cow-goddess Hathor is said to endue him with the protection of her magical power, and the earth-god Seb to supply him with all he needs, and the guardian of the staff [of life] promises that he shall be supplied with food and air in the Great Field, because the ancestors of the deceased who are already living there have given orders to this effect. These same ancestors, it is declared, shall come out to meet him, and as it is possible that some attempt may be made to stop or injure him by Seb (?), Nut, Shu and Tefnut, they shall bring their sticks, and staves, and clubs, and other weapons in their hands, so that they may be ready to defend their relative, and lead him to their abode. Here we have a good description of the manner in which Egyptian peasants have always turned out to defend a friend, and how they have always armed themselves with clubs, and sticks, and handles of ploughs, or, flails, whenever a fellow villager had to be rescued from the clutches of foes or from the authorities, and have gone forth to his assistance. Not only would their spirits defend their spirit relative in the Other-World,
but they would also defend him by exactly the same means which their bodies would have employed to defend his body upon earth.
From one end of the chapter to the other there is no mention of Osiris, who in later times became the god of the Resurrection, and it is quite clear that the deceased believed that his reunion with his ancestors and family could be brought about without the help of any god, simply by the recital of the Chapter "Millions of times with never-ending regularity." The repetition of the whole chapter was unnecessary, for if a man recited the words of the Rubric an infinite number of times he would not only be able to rejoin his relatives, but also to regain in the Other World possession of all the property of every kind which he had enjoyed on this earth. The Rubric had, in fact, so far back as B.C. 2600, become a traditional magical formula of a most powerful character, and it must have been composed at the time when the abode of the blessed was supposed to resemble the "great field" in which the men of a village assembled to celebrate a festival, and before the ideas concerning Sekhet-Aaru and Sekhet-hetep, with which we are familiar from the "Book of Coming Forth by Day," were evolved. The texts of the Chapter and Rubric are of such interest that copies of them are printed as an Appendix to the present section (Note: these hieroglyphic sections are omitted from the etext--JBH).
We have now before us all the principal facts which are necessary for forming an opinion as to the kind
of heaven which the primitive Egyptian hoped and expected to enjoy, and of the means which he took to obtain admission therein. He either bought, or persuaded, or forced, the "servant of the god," or priest, to give him words of power, i.e., names of gods, and magical formulae, which he learned, or had written down for him, and he relied for admission into the next world upon his knowledge of these, or copies of them which were buried with him, and upon the recitals of them at proper times and seasons by his relatives and friends, and upon offerings made upon earth to the gods on his behalf. Once in the abode of the blessed he was free to go wherever he pleased, to travel from one sacred place to another, to visit his friends, to eat, to drink, to enjoy the society of his wives and women of pleasure, and to rejoice in a family life which was only a glorified duplicate of that which he had known on earth. The gods he knew there were much like himself, and the extent and fervour of the worship which he devoted to them was exactly in proportion to the assistance which they rendered to him; his chief anxiety was not to forget the words of power which he had learned. His occupation consisted in watching the growth of crops, for all the necessary work was performed by beings who carried out his every behest. We now pass on to describe the abode of the blessed according to the "Book Am-Tuat" and the "Book of Gates."
64:1 See page 59.
64:2 Book of the Dead, Chapter CX., line 39.
65:1 From this passage it seems that a man who died before his expected to find another woman in Sekhet-hetep whom he might marry.
66:1 See my edition of the Chapters of Coming Forth by Day, text, pp. 124, 493.
67:1 See RECUEIL, 1904, pp. 67-72, and La Réunion de la Famille, by M. J. Baillet, in Journal Asiatique, Xème Série, tom. iv., p. 307, where a rendering of the Chapter into French will be found.
67:2 They bear the numbers 28083 and 28087.
67:3 A name of the Underworld.
67:4 Perhaps "his uncles and aunts," or "foster-parents."
67:5 Or "connexions."
69:1 Or, It is Seb who is the funeral chest, or sarcophagus, the allusion being to the fact that it was in the body of Seb, i.e., the earth, that the deceased was laid.
69:2 The meaning of this line is not clear to me. The word khet is often applied to wheat or barley, as the "wood," or "plant" of life. By "Great Field" I understand Sekhet-hetep.
70:1 I.e., Shu and Tefnut.