Imágenes de páginas

Opening now the Book of the Deadas the Ritual is not very happily called by modern writers—we commence the dirge which followed the process of embalming, that sacred process whereby the corruptible literally put on incorruption before the mortal could ente: on the “manifestation to light " (Chap. I.). Book in hand, let us ascend the western side of the northern face, as the mourners ascended the western slope in the sacred cemetery among the hills of Thebes. Then, reciting chapter by chapter as we mount course by course, we approach at the fifteenth step a gateway two courses yet above us, just as the Departed in the fifteenth chapter approaches the “Gate of the Gateway. and invokes “Haroeris, the great guide of the world, the guide of the souls in their secret place, the light dwelling in the horizons." From this point the first veil of secresy begins. For so effectually was the opening concealed from uninstructed eyes in ancient times by a revolving stone that the position, once lost, was impossible to recover; and for many hundred years after the fall of the Roman power the building remained impenetrable, until Caliph Al Mamoon, in the ninta century of our era, forced an opening at random through the solid masonry, and hit upon the Entrance Passage. Entering by the low gate way we have before us the passage of the equinox already described, which while descending southwards into the depths of darkness points northwards to the Pole-star. As we cross the gate on the seventeenta course, we recognise the point where, in the seventeenth chapter, the Deceased is said to "cross the door of earth” and exclaim, " I go from the gate of the hill, that is the gate of the North.” And in the ascent we have made we recognise also “the ladder of the earth,” of which : much older papyrus makes mention. From that gate we enter the descending passage of the horizon, the first “Hall in the House Osiris,” the beginning of the journey in union with that divine guiz whose aid alone can enable the deceased to overcome the unseen fees awaiting him in the Secret Places, and to bear the intolerable splendor: of the under-world. In that Hall takes place the reconstruction (XXI.)' of every member of the deceased in some divine form, his preservatica (XXVII.), his protection (XLII.), and his sustentation with heavenly food (LII.).

Bidding farewell to the light of common day, and treading with the Departed the Entrance Passage, we arrive after a long descent at a

The Roman numerals enclosed in brackets refer throughout to the chapters in the Banden the Dead.

aperture in the western wall, and passing through the opening thus disclosed, mount gently into a kind of grotto, at the bottom of the Well, a square perpendicular shaft with footholes cut in the precipitous sides ; from the top of which a level passage runs to the Queen's Chamber, * that is, the “Birthplace of Osiris” mentioned in the Ritual, the Chamber of his mother, the Queen of the Pyramid. Returning from the bottom of the Well to the Entrance Passage, and pursuing our course still further downwards, we come, after a short level continuation beyond the bottom of the slope, to a subterranean chamber or abyss. This Infernum is hewn out of the solid rock and roofed over with massive stones; but the floor is inaccessible, being covered with huge blocks of varying height resembling. a pool of petrified flame, and a small passage opening beyond leads to nothing.

Precisely similar is the progress of the Departed, described in this portion of the Ritual. While the inner man (or “ Ka") is renovated in the First Hall of Osiris, the soul new-born, “the mystery made by the gods” being accomplished (LXIV.), comes forth from the Second Hall, the Chamber of Isis, where Osiris was born. Then passing the gate of Anruhf at the head, or northern opening, of the Well, as the gate of Rusta is the southern or lower opening—"the name of the southern gate is Rusta,” says the Ritual, “the name of the northern gate is Anruhf”—the soul descends the ladder of the sepulchral shaft, as may be seen in the Papyrus of Ani, into the grotto or Chamber of the Waters at the bottom of the well, the Third Hall in the House of Osiris. In the depths of that Well of Life, wherein, as the Sai-an-Sinsin tells us, approach is made to Osiris, takes place the Regeneration of the Renewed Man (or Ka) by reunion with the new-born soul amid the living waters. “I give the waters of life to every mummy," says the goddess Nout, who presides over the waters, in the inscription on the vase of Osur-Ur (given in Records of the Past), "to reunite it with the soul, that it may henceforth be separated from it no more for ever. The Resident of the West has established thy person amid the sages of the divine Lower Region”-it will be observed that both the Western position and the Lower Region accord with the position in the Pyramid ;-" he giveth stability to thy body, and causeth thy soul not to distance itself from thee. He evoketh the remembrance of thy person, and saveth thy body

* The only authority at present for the title of Queen's Chamber is that of the Arabs ; but it is far from improbable that they obtained it from tradition, and it accords with the papyrus mentioned above.

entirely and for ever.” Here, too, the sacred bark, each portion a livi, spirit endowed with a mystic name, awaits the Departed, now th: Initiate; that saving bark whereby he is to pass the deep waters death, and to approach securely the Fourth Hall in the House of Osiris, the subterranean abyss, or Place of Ordeal, whence they who cannot endure the fire pass away to nothingness. And from that same we also where he regains his living soul he catches through the opening above his first glimpse of the “Celestial Nile” (CX.), the river of life which rises beneath the throne of the Creator, Tum, that river on the waters of which the Immortals move for evermore.

Resuming our exploration of the edifice, and turning back from tse Infernum, as the deceased turns back from Hades (CXIX.), we remount the Passage of the Horizon, until we come to a granite gate, < portcullis, built in the roof. This great gate, which originally was totally hidden by masonry, and was only discovered by the falling of a stone when Al Mamoon was forcing his entrance into the Pyrami stands at the threshold of the Secret Places. Not only was the whose gate carefully hidden, but the lower portion of the passage within was blocked inside with enormous stones, still unremoved, and perhaps irremovable. So that even now the Lintel is still hidden, and admission is only effected through a hole forced by violence in the wall of the passage above the blocks within. With the obstruction of the doorway the experience of the deceased precisely corresponds. “I have come, says he, later on, “through the Hidden Lintel; I have come line the sun, through the Gate of the Festival.” And, after a litany to the celestial intelligences who keep account of the moral actions of ma:kind, he approaches the difficult portal, and beseeches admission t the Double Hall of Truth, the Chambers of Confession and of Illumit tion, the Fifth and Sixth Halls in the House of Osiris. Here, as the material building, so also in the Ritual, resistance is offered every step to the further advance of the Initiated (CXXV.). "167 not let thee go over me,” says the sill, "unless you tell me my naze “The weight in the right place is thy name,” is the profound repr of the Initiate. For, as the raising of the portcullis depends upon the true adjustment of the weight, so also is Justice the virtue witho which the upward path remains for ever closed. Creeping with difficult through a small hole forced in the concealed passage above the blocks we find ourselves in a low corridor about 129ft. long, inclined upwará (at an angle of a little more than 26deg. to the level of the Pyramic'.

and corresponding to the First Hall of Truth. Then, stooping beneath the low gateway by which it is terminated (but not obstructed) at the top, “the Gate of the Festival,” already mentioned, we stand upon a kind of landing-place, from which the whole system of the interior passages opens out. On every side is the “crossing of the pure roads of life," of which the coffin of Amamu speaks. On the western side is the mouth of the well, “the Gate of Anruhf," leading down to the roads of darkness." Before us lie the Fields of Aahlu, the blessed country where the Justified executes the works which he is privileged to perform for Osiris. "I have digged in Anruhf," he says later on ; "I have drilled the holes"—the holes, that is, for the good seed which shall bear fruit in the King's Chamber, where the corn grows “seven cubits high," the holes which we shall see are drilled in the ramps of the Southern Ascending Passage, but to which no signification has yet been attached.

Beyond the fields the road leads direct to the Hall of New Birth, where the soul received her second life in the chamber of Isis, the mother of Osiris, the incarnate Deity dwelling in the House or Humanity. From the entrance, too, of the passage diverge the interior ladders spoken of on the ancient coffin of Amamu (the “ladder of the earth" having been already ascended outside the building). Sheer downwards, “the ladder which has been made for Osiris " descends into the Well. Northwards the Passage of Justification slopes to the Hidden Lintel. And southwards, still upward, but with a very slightly different inclination, runs the Southern Ascending Passage, called by some writers the Grand Gallery, forming the upper portion of the Hall of Truth, the Chamber of the Orbit, or Sixth Hall in the House of Osiris. This remarkable structure consists of a corridor about 158ft. long and 20ft. high, built entirely on a slope, floor, walls, and roof, except a small portion at the southern or upper end. On either side of the sloping floor are twenty-eight ramps, each with a hole in it, the reference to which in the Ritual has been already noticed. And at the upper end the slope of the floor line is closed abruptly just above the Queen's Chamber (or Hall of New Birth) by a block three feet high forming a daïs, or throne of judgment. From hence the top of the block, or seat of the throne, runs level for about sixty-one inches; the wall at the side of the seat thus formed being not quite vertical, but impending very slightly towards the slope. At the back of the throne the gallery is brought to a termination by the southern wall closing down within forty-two inches of the seat, and VOL. IX.-No. 55.

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leaving as an exit further south a narrow and grave-like tunnel. In the sloping roof of the gallery running upward from north to south, at 2 somewhat greater inclination than the floor, are thirty-six overlappings corresponding to the number of decades in the orbit of the Egyptian year. And on the side wall of the daïs (at the upper end of the gallery are five cusps, one above another, marking the birthdays of the five deities which terminated the orbit, while the crowning Jubilee of the Leap Year is masonified in the throne to which the whole ascent leads up immediately above the Chamber of New Birth. Finally (though there are other correspondences of a similar character, upon which it would be too long to enter), along the sloping walls are seven overlappings, one above another, arching over to the summit, and in the positioa corresponding to that occupied by our own globe among the planets runs a deep groove, or orbit, along its entire length. Thus we are confronted with a startling connection between the “Orbit” or “Passage of the Sun,” which plays so prominent a part in the Ritual, and the “Chamber of the Seven Rayed,” mentioned in the same sacred writings; the Chamber, that is, of the “ seven great spirits in the service of their Lord, the Creator, who,” the same books tell us, “protect the coffin of Osiris,"—the Hall of the Orbit crowned by the seven-fold radiance of supreme Intelligences who overarch the splendour of creation.

A burst of triumph greets the adept as, mounting the Ascent of Justification, he accomplishes the Passage of the Sun (CXXVI.) and approaches the Chamber of the Orbit, the Hall of Illumination. "The deceased,” we read (CXXVII.)," passes through the Gate of the Gateway. Prepare ye his hall when he comes. Justify his words against the accusers. There is given to him the food of the gods of the Gate There has been made for him the crown which belongs to him as the dweller in the Secret Place.” In another place the Justified himself exclaims, “I have opened the gate of Heaven and earth” (at the junction of the Passages of Orbit and of Equinox). “The soul of Osiris rests there. I cross through the halls. No defect or evil is found in me And once more the deceased prays that he may pass this hall “Place me before thee, O Lord of Eternity. Hail, dweller of the West, good Being, Lord of Abydos. Let me pass the roads of darkness; let me follow thy servants in the gate."

A similar note of exultation marks the passage in the Sai-an-Sinsir where we read of the great Tribunal and the House of Light. “Thou comest into the House of God with much purity,” exclaim the mourders,

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