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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Pyramid Texts

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

O King, the mouth of the earth is split open for you, Geb speaks to you.  May you be cleansed in the Jackal Lake, may you be purified in the Lake of the Duat.  Come in peace . . . (Utterance 697, Pyramid Texts, trans. Faulkner) 

We are approaching the time of year when many of the living things around us appear to die, when our spirits sag a little with the dwindling light and ebbing warmth. 

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The Pyramid Texts urge the recently-deceased king along in his journey towards eternity.  Egypt’s risk for seismic activity is lower than many parts of the world, so the idea of the earth splitting open for the king may not carry memories of destruction as it would in many parts of the world.  Instead, it represents the welcome  of the earth deity, Geb, and the opportunity to be cleansed in the lakes of the Duat.  

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_unasbc2_20130906-021346_1.pngThe oldest religious texts in the world, the Pyramid Texts, are found in the Old Kingdom Pyramid of Unas; they are dated to perhaps 2400 BCE, though they surely were in use for long before that.  The sophisticated cosmology and deeply-layered poetry must have been in development and then use for many generations before it was recorded in the tomb of the 5th Dynasty king.

Though I have read two different English translations several times, I still feel that I've wandered into a magical cave when I read PT passages.  Ritual voices seem to whisper all around me.  I can almost smell the incense, smell the roasted bull and guttering oil lamps and floral garlands that are being laid on the sarcophagus before it is sealed for eternity. 

The Book of Going Forth By Day (Book of the Dead) and Coffin Texts gained great popularity in later centuries, but the Pyramid Texts were solely for the use of the king upon his or her death (yes, there were at least two other female rulers, in addition to Hatshepsut).  In new Egyptian spirituality, we identify with the ruler's journey of transformation, taking on the role of the pharaoh as s/he becomes first an Osiris, then Ra, then an imperishable star.

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