Você está na página 1de 68

The Pyramid Text of UNAS

Cartouche of King Unas ("wnis"). (ca. 2378 - 2348 BCE)

The Royal Ritual of Rebirth & Illumination
the regeneration of the divine king and the transformation of his Ba into an Akh
by Wim van den Dungen


"O You, the great god, whose name is unknown."
King Unas (Utt.254 - West Wall of Antechamber)

01 02 03 04

From Predynastic graves & mounds to royal tombs. The rise of henotheism. The ritual complex of King Unas. The interpretation of the Pyramid Texts.

05 06 07 08

An integration of perpectives. The role of Osiris in the Unas text. The complete text of the translation. Greek versus Egyptian Initiation

The Complete Text l Central Plan of the Hieroglyphs l Bibliography
by Wim van den Dungen Antwerp, 2006 - 2007.

Burial-Chamber l Passage-way l Antechamber l Corridor l Serdab

Burial-chamber or Sarcophagusroom (I, II, III, IV, V) l Passage-way (VI) Antechamber (VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII) l Northern Corridor (XIII) l Serdab (XIV)

Remark : The use of capitals in words as "Absolute", "God" or "Divine", points to a rational context (i.e. how these appear in a theology conducted in the rational mode of thought). Hence, when these words are used in the context of Ancient Egyptian ante-rational thought (which, as a cultural form, was mythical, pre-rational & proto-rational), this restriction is lifted. Hence, words such as "god", "the god", "gods", "goddesses", "pantheon" or "divine" are not capitalized.

1. From Predynastic graves & mounds to royal tombs.
Predynastic burials In Egyptian funerary rituals, the tomb was a dark, underground structure, dug out in desert sand or rock and completed with offerings accompanying the dead. In the Predynastic millennium (ca. 4000 - 3000 BCE) preceding the Pharaonic Period (ca. 3000 - 30 BCE), the tombs were simple holes in the ground, with wooden walls and mats. Little is known of what was on top of them, and so scholars hesitate to categorize these constructions as funerary architecture. On the outside, a mound of sand or gravel or perhaps

a simple wooden construction may have served as a marker. Most Predynastic corpses were completely dried out because of the desert sand. Was this a prefiguration of the Pharaonic practice of removing bodily fluids with natron (during mummification) ? From Naqada II onwards, highly differentiated burials are found in cemeteries in Upper Egypt (cf. Gerzean, ca. 3600 - 3300 BCE). These élite burials contained large quantities of grave goods, with exotic materials such as gold and lapis lazuli. These burials point to an increasing hierarchical society and the wish of the deceased to keep their status in the afterlife, of prime important in the funerary theology under the Pharaohs. In short, the royals had access to the sky of Re, whereas commoners were spirits unable to leave the kingdom of Osiris.

Naqada III tomb - Minsjat Abu Omar - Eastern Delta - ca. 3300 BCE.

First seen in Amratian culture (Naqada I, 4000 - 3600 BCE), there was, during the second phase of the Gerzean culture, a distinct acceleration of the funerary trend, whereby a few individuals were buried in larger, elaborate tombs, containing richer and more abundant offerings (cf. the Painted Tomb at Naqada). These Gerzean cemeteries develop a wide range of grave types, ranging from small oval or round pits, poorly provided, to burials in pottery vessels and rectangular pits subdivided in partitions (to put the funerary offerings). There were coffins of wood or airdried pottery, and indications of the wrapping of the body in strips of (expensive) linen (cf. the Double Tomb at Adaïma near Hierakonpolis). Various burial-sites appear, and also the richer tombs of the chieftains, the predecessors of the "Followers of Horus", the first divine kings.

Wilkinson (1999). in the royal titulary. On the treshold of the First Dynasty (ca. 3000 . The tombs of the first kings followed this pattern. The dual nature of the monarchy was all-comprehensive and reflected in the regalia.Names not to same scale . Often the body was wrapped in a cloth or an animal skin. we witness a new style of "royal" burial. p. p. the advent of dual kingship & sacred language At Naqada. the end of the Naqada II phase brings separate political centres to the fore. From the very early start. At the end of Naqada III.27. the first hieroglyphs appear. the Golden Age. Situated far out in the desert near the cliffs at Abydos. 1981. etc. building-projects. This "risen land" ("ta-tenen") was the "first land" to come into being (in phenomenal time . in the royal rituals and festivals. These mounds of sand and gravel can be traced back to the modest pit graves. In Lower Egypt the deceased was placed on his right side. as all along the upper Nile. itself rooted in the myth of the primordial hill emerging out of the eternal "zep tepi". the dead person was placed on his left side.53. like a house or an imitation palace. sunk in the desert and divided. Egyptian kingship expressed a unique feature : realizing the harmony or equilibrium of opposites by using sacred language & its ritual. with the head at the south. while in Upper Egypt." Lamy. looking west. Abydos and Hierakonpolis.cf. the head resting on a cushion.2900 BCE). Frankfort (1948) called the presence of the divine king and his institution of "transcendent significance". the graves of the rulers and the élite consisted of neat mudbrick boxes. Also at this time. Nun). but with increased complexity. into several rooms. . The pyramid form is deemed an elaboration of this architecture. they were marked by a pair of large stelæ and covered by a mound. his face turned towards the east."In the Neolithic period the dead were desposited in oval graves in foetal position. Predynastic names of kings .

By absence of natural buffers. thus keeping Upper & Lower Egypt together & united by way of this Great Word. the Predynastic consort of the great goddess). in the Early Dynastic or Archaic Period (ca. Memphis theology). speaks Maat. the royal ritual balances the scales of Maat. as well as human and divine. when the "Followers of Horus" ruled. Later. and Egyptian divine kingship is unique in Antiquity. Memphis theology).2670 BCE). At first. as well as the longevity and endurance of the Pharaonic canon. Its culture flourished on the surplus economy of the yearly inundation. creating the world (cf. hieroglyphs played a crucial role. associated with the images of (a) the watchful. . in the Old Kingdom (ca. if not in the world. power & magic of words). Its direct influence on Greek philosophy and monotheism are unmistaken. 3000 . This crucial witnessing quality of the "great house" ("pr-Aa". the sole divine being abiding on Earth (the Akhu or deities remained in the sky and only sent their Kas -doubles. not their spirit).Divine kingship or theocratic statemanship was a unique phenomenon in the region. maintaining creation and causing a "good Nile" (not too much and not too little flooding). i. The first outstanding feature of the Egyptian solution was to institutionalize the king's dual nature : he was the Lord of Upper and Lower Egypt. In the actual transmission of the standards of the Ancient Egyptian mindset. much later Hellenized as "Pharaoh"). Contemporary civilizations were often fragmented and political unity was difficult. stability. Without a "good Nile". 2670 . the Falcon-principle inherent in Horus (the sky-god) was deemed to incarnate in each king. It was not an easy to attack Egypt from the South or the North.e.and Bas -souls-. Add to this the power of the divine. Kingship implied the end of the fragmentation of Prehistory. magic and the power of the word). help to explain the importance of the institution of divine kingship in Egyptian culture. Incarnating the Great Word (cf. allowing for communication between the divine and the mundane. surging Falcon and (b) the mighty and fertile Bull (cf. administration & economy were unknown to them. the new political ideology could be "eternalized" for millennia : the divine king. centuries of political centralization. the advent of sacred language (cf. The Eastern & Western Deserts of Egypt surrounded the narrow strip of green land bordering the Nile. Thanks to the second crucial feature. terminating the "chaos" to which no return was possible. the divine king or "nesut" was deemed the son of Re. sacred kingship of the Great Word (cf. Egypt perished. sacrality. short-lived or foreign to them. overseeing the "Two Lands" as its sole Lord.2205 BCE).

the two ivory djed-pillars found in the First Dynasty tomb at Helwan). visual and written. The central element of the later Osiris myth. Thanks to the presence of the divine king."Indeed. the pairing of Horus and Seth. A kind of "organic" patchwork-thinking of great delicacy emerges. the royal tombs With the arrival of the institution of kingship & sacred language. The institution of kingship was already strong & powerful. the "Followers of Horus" first uniting Upper Egypt before settling in Memphis). is attested from the middle of this First Dynasty (cf. keeping dynamical divisions united . fertilizing power of the regenerated Osiris who is king of the Duat and  the strong. Opposites are not contradictions. the eternal cycle of the natural order ("neheh") initiated by Atum in the First Time. Osiris. the lips of King Merenre are as the Two Enneads. the royal ritual and its funerary cult came into existence. These works made the natural order and its dynamical equilibria endure for "millions of years". not attested by name ." The Egyptian symmetry or play of equilibria. is transcended by a witnessing consciousness characterized by :  the overseeing capacities of the son of Re. creative output as Horus on Earth. engaging others in community-building activities and securing one's return to the stellar light-fields of father Re.  the wholesome. but complementarities. utilizes the duality of opposites as part of a careful strategy to master the whole. verbal. an indication of the Upper Egyptian origin of the Egyptian state (cf. The power of pairing lies in the combination demarcating and underlining a greater unity. This King Merenre is the Great Speech. The kings of the First Dynasty were buried at Abydos (the cult place of Osiris).

The pyramids reflect a stellar ideology made possible by the local horizon delimiting the cycle of the Sun. the god of Abydos. Like the rising Sun. In the tomb of King Qaa. stellar terminus of . The symbolism speaks for itself. The burial-chambers were incorparated at ground level. 3000 . In these theological considerations. The mound is Solar. 3000 BCE.until the Unas texts. They are made to assist the divine king on his celestial voyage to the stars. a change to a northerly orientation is effectuated (and maintained thereafter). This is effectuated in two stages : Osirian regeneration. Scholars conjecture the burial mound recalls the primeval mound which emerged from the waters at the time of creation.Queen Neithhotep . who closes this dynasty. The entrance corridor is a large ramp pointing northwards toward the circumpolar stars ("ixmw-sk" or "the ones that know not destruction"). or "the Foremost of the Westerners". Solar ascension and luminous existence in heaven. from primordial mound (of the Sun) to celestial ladder (to the stars). the change from mastaba to step pyramid. the king rose to the sky. ca.2800 BCE). reflects the increased importance of the celestial. Palace façade style mud-brick tomb . most likely of Predynastic origin.First Dynasty . the entrance stairway approaches the burial-chamber from the East and the rising Sun. and refers to the first ray of Re shining on the first day after the waters receded. The superstructures of the first royal tombs at Abydos were simple mounds of sand held in place by a mudbrick revetment. Funerary ideology became stellar. is very likely "Khentiamentiu".ca. In the tombs of kings Den and Adjib (First Dynasty.

known as the Winding Canal. "The sun's apparent path across the sky throughout the year follows a 12°wide arc from east to west. some inhabited by the 'Imperishable Stars'. and so bound to the sky. the sky. creating the unsettling tension between the "Duat". whereas commoners hid beneath the Earth. In some mysterious way. In this pre-rational henotheism. Seth and Osiris.2348 BCE). where the marshes of the Delta gradually gave way to the Mediterranean Sea. and the 'Unwearying Stars' in the south. the "fertile bull" slain & risen. Very likely. 2487 ." Allen. Osiris' Southern "Field of Reeds" and Re's Northern "Field of Offering" or "Field of Peace" were adjacent salvic conditions with conflicting ontological features. is another evidence of the growing importance of the magical power of hieroglyphs. They reflect the dual spiritual economy at hand. and others known as the Mounds of Horus. The royals were divine beings. p. in the dark kingdom of Osiris. The earliest hieroglyphs evidence these two theologies. Although the tombs left by the kings of the Early Dynastic Period are . Osiris became "second best" in royal theology. These names reflect the Egyptian's experience of their own country. Heavenly Cow). By the end of the Vth Dynasty (ca. to the use of written hieroglyphs to make the magic work in splendid secure tombs. This Lunar fertility god would eventually represent the "regenerative" part of the royal ritual.rebirth) & vertical (illumination transformation) layers are not integrated in the text (yet). but in the architecture. and "pet". and represent the Solar (dry) and Lunar (wet) "mechanics" of the high magic of rebirth (as the Lunar Osiris) and enlightenment (as the Solar Re). 2005. Horizontal (fertility . divine kingship (as Re) assimilated the Lunar power of the Predynastic "great goddess". Features within both regions were sees as islands.9.the divine king. but his kingdom had to be escaped. in the north. It represented an "order" created by Re but outside his reach (cf. and their distribution in the tomb points to a sequence involving Lunar purification (rebirth) and Solar illumination (transformation). lasting for ever. the Netherworld. The region of the sky to its south was known as the Marsh of Reeds and that to its north the Marsh of Rest or Marsh of Offerings. Re and his divine son rule the pantheon & creation. making humans & deities alike fear Osiris and make sure his judgement was favourable. The influence of Re rose and a pre-rational and Heliopolitan henotheism saw the light. This movement away from the strong architectonic message of gigantic hieroglyphic monuments for all to see. left unresolved in the texts. represented by Osiris.

60 m.644 m long. Pyramid of Djoser and part of its surrounding enclosure wall. clustering at Giza. 2670 . in particular under King Netjerikhet or "Djoser" (ca. northwest of Giza.monumental in size. the 21 major Old Kingdom pyramids stand like sentinels in a 20-km (12-mile) stretch west of the capital the 'White Walls'.14-15. The Step Pyramid represents a significant leap in architectural size and sophistication. Zawiyet el-Aryan. to Meidum in the south. with functional and dummy buildings. pp. large terraces.2635 BCE) and his grand architect Imhotep. 2001. near the entrance of the Fayum. Saqqara and Dahshur.2600 BCE). underworld aspect of existence after death" (Lehner. Abusir. while the Step Pyramid itself. the 4th to 6th dynasties. 2001. "The Step Pyramid of Djoser heralded the classic pyramid age. between Abu Roash. platforms. reflects the route of celestial (stellar) ascension/descension taken by the Solar King after he was mummified and entombed. columns. p. A limestone wall. 10." Lehner. . During these centuries the Egyptians built pyramids for their god-kings in a 72-km (45-mile) span of desert.5 m high and 1. This is the barrier between the outer world and the domain of the divine king. they do not approach the scale suddenly reached in the IIIth Dynasty (ca. shrines and life-seized statues. stairways. Even after death. later known as Memphis. contained an area of 15 ha (then the size of a large town). The complex. rising in six steps to a height of ca. façades. 84). also known as the Old Kingdom. reflected the dual nature of the afterlife : the half-submerging dummy buildings "must have signified the chthonic. Excluding the pyramids of Djedefre at Abu Roash and Sneferu at Meidum as outliers. 2654 .

on the other hand.South rectangular enclosure. was amplified by the gigantic Giza complex of King Khufu (ca. the first king of the IVth Dynasty. This new standard. A new form was sought. which provided a monumental entrance to the complex as a whole . which acted as a stairway to and fro the sky. the Solar sky ("pt". so-called Meidum-type arrangement. close to the edge of the cultivated area further to the East. about 26° to 30° above the northern horizon in the area of the pyramids. and remained unchanged throughout the Old Kingdom.2571 BCE). with a long North .. N entrance chapel Orientation Parts Enclosure wall Entrance Ka tomb Temple In the reign of King Sneferu (ca.W axial symmetry smooth outer wall. Lehner. 1938 . "pet") of the "imperishable" circumpolar stars (Alpha Draconis rather than Alpha Polaris). 2600 . the Lunar underworld ("Dwt".South N .S sequence niched. 2571 .1759 BCE). defined by a decorated wall with a single entrance at the far South end of the East side.19 older DJOSER type North . at times niched inner wall Centre East side Satellite Pyramid E temple. did pyramid builders return to the basic elements of Djoser's complex.2548 BCE). when the earliest Meidum-type were fading into ruin. "Duat") and.West E . p. radical changes in the overall plan of the Pyramid complex happened. This depicted the fundamental duality of the afterlife : on the one hand. It was linked by a causeway to a valley temple.the king was still "at work" in his tomb. . Only in the Middle Kingdom (ca. no inner wall South end of East side South tomb no Satellite Pyramid N or S temple new MEIDUM TYPE East . The royal tomb changed into a true pyramid..South direction). A new orientation was applied (the main axis of the complex was now from East to West instead as the previously North . 2001. and the mortuary temple was built against the Eastern face of the Pyramid (Djoser's is to the North).

000 m³). But once every 24 hours.e. 2. would be built by his son Khnum-khuf ("Khnum is his protector"). his workers and builders would had to set in place 230 m³ of stone per day. After a few failures. to finish his pyramid. Pharaoh Sneferu finished in half a century three giant pyramids at Meidum and Dahshur. a rate of 1 average-size block of 2.During his reign.700. two temples. he surpassed his pyramids in sheer size and accuracy. the principle of pyramid-building had been mastered and the . three queens' pyramids and official's mastabas (a combined mass of ca. The northern ventilation shaft pointed directly to Alpha Draconis.5 tons every 4 or 6 minutes (working in day and night shifts).59 m high. The only known figure of him is a tiny figurine around 7. Although this king did not equal his father's total mass of monuments.6 cm high with his name on its throne ! Plan of the Pyramid-complex of Pharaoh Khufu (ca. a combination of the myths of Re and Osiris ? Even if we allow Pharaoh Khufu a reign of 30 to 32 years. i.2548 BCE). 2571 . the three stars in Orion's belt passed at culmination above the southern ventilation shaft of the burial-chamber . 146. satellite pyramids. the Pole Star. causeway. But the largest pyramid.

The expanse of the sky was the celestial Nile.300.4 cm. with banks on the West and on the East. never intended for the burial of the queen and the Subterranean Chamber. and. was called "the Bringer of the New Year and the Nile flood". could rise in its "sah" ("sAH". the Ba of King Khufu. The finished pyramid was surrounded by an 8m high Tura limestone wall ! The Great Pyramid has three chambers : a King's Chamber with the sarcophagus near the western wall . Thus he reached his final destiny : the Imperishable Stars in the North. the architects of the Great Pyramid underlined the celestial goals of Solar Kingship.33 m) with an angle of slope of 51°50'40". the culminating moment in the movement from dusk to dawn) and the Field of Offering (Re) further North. 30 m below the plateau surface. a Ka chamber with the statue of the king. reached by a Descending Passage cut straight into the natural rock of the plateau. by doing so. associated with Isis. This star. What is typical for these "Stellar" pyramids of Sneferu (Bent Pyramid as well as North Pyramid) and Khufu is the elevated position of the King's Chamber.building of the king's royal pyramid-complex (also containing his tomb) become state policy.5 cm (290.5 tons) is level within 2. the annual Nile inundation was heralded. In both. son of Re. stellar corpse of Osiris.3 ha. the funerary symbolism is clearly celestial. "noble") and be transformed into an "Akh" ("spirit") helped by Osiris and Isis in their stellar. By elevating the King's Chamber. . was identified with Orion : the announced renewal of life by the heliacal rising of Sirius. Osiris. the vegetation god. the so-called "Queen's Chamber". entailing the blessing of Osiris. with burialchamber. the average deviation of the sides from the cardinal points is 0°03'06" degrees of arc and the greatest difference in length of the sides is 4. The base of the Great Pyramid (containing about 2. By the bright appearance of the Dog-star in the dawn sky of July. the brother and husband of Isis. while this seems unlikely (in view of the triune architecture of royal tombs. Moreover. associated with the Orion constellation and the star Sirius (the Southern shafts).e. celestial form (in the South).000 blocks of stone weighing on average ca 2. The pyramid alone covers 5. Some think the lower chambers were "mistakes". also made it possible for the "son of Re" to unite with the celestial. antechamber and Ka-chamber). The Milky Way was called "the beaten path of stars" and paradise was invisioned as the Nile Valley at inundation : the Field of Reeds (Osiris) on the eastern edge (i.

on the one hand. between. the direct manifestation of the supreme deity on Earth. . The kings of the IVth Dynasty (ca. creator of the deities and the universe.e. the son of Re returning to his father. we may "read" the same ambiguity. and escaping the darkness of the Duat. the Netherworld ("Duat") of Osiris. every deceased would identify.The Great Pyramid with Sphinx In this remarkable architecture. Heliopolitan theology incorporated Osirian thematics. Nevertheless. the royal Solar/Stellar prerogative and. and. thematized in the New Kingdom Amduat. 2600 . on the other hand. i. i. on the one hand. between. its king hidden in the darkness of the subterranean world. on the other hand.2487 BCE) emphasized the Solar component of divine kingship. the influence of the popular (Lunar and Predynastic ?) Osiris. the sky of Re ("pet").e. apparent in the Pyramid Texts. but only insofar Osiris assisted the celestial terminus of the deceased king. with whom eventually (in the Middle Kingdom).

" At the start of Dynastic times (ca. Each and every local deity was "great" ("wr") and polytheism reigned. the military. appearing as a fusion of (a) Horus the Elder and (b) Horus. the seats of learning. From the IIIth Dynasty (ca. At the level of state. etc). Horus (Lower Egypt) & Seth (Upper Egypt) represented the balance of the Two Lands. the temples. the administration. the religious beliefs of the Egyptians were contextual. 2670 . King Unas (Utt. The (Predynastic ?) identity of the anarchic Seth seems obvious enough. 2670 BCE). The rise of henotheism. health-care. realized by the institution of divine kingship (his Great Word) and the powers of state (cf. a variety of gods and goddesses were worshipped. Hither and thither.antechamber.302 . the royal palace or "great house". but the identity of Horus is less so. son of Osiris. the economy. the gods fly away.Cairo taken from behind the Sphinx 2. local & relative to social class. 3000 BCE). initiating the Old Kingdom (ca. North Wall) "Men hide.

041. in all periods. doctor and architect Imhotep. replacing the traditional balance between Horus and Seth. scribe. a determinative indicating "ascent" and "high place" (cf. the Heliopolitan Ennead. 2571 .2548 BCE) evidence this new royal theology. as Osiris & Horus in the Sed-festival) and as Son of Re in the afterlife. then.2635 BCE). "The Southern Shining Pyramid" (Sneferu). the operative principle (ba) of Nun..2514 BCE) added the title "son of Re" to his royal titulary. the self-created initiator of the "first time" (zep tepi) of them all (cf. "Djedefre is a Sehed-star" (Djedefre). these Old Kingdom rules became sanctosanct. 2540 . "Pyramid of the Ba of Neferirkare" (Neferirkare). stressing the singular). "Beautiful is Isesi" (Djedkare-Isesi). "The Places of Niuserre Endure" (Niuserre). The names given to the earliest edifices imply the transformation (happening in the Akhet or "horizon") of the royal soul (ba) of the king into a spirit (akh) rejoining the stars : "Sneferu Endures" (Sneferu"). the vizier. Egypt would return to the canon initiated by King Djoser and his "Leonardo da Vinci". especially in the Late Period (664 . in the horizon. "The Rising of the Ba Spirit" (Sahure). 2600 . "Pure are the Places of Userkaf" (Userkaf). "The Shining Pyramid" (Sneferu). However. By the IVth Dynasty (ca.2571 BCE) and Khufu (ca. or henotheism). the Pyramid Texts) and wisdom-teaching. 2600 . religion (cf. The architectural wonders of Pharaohs Djoser (ca. universal. "Akhet Khufu" (Khufu). magic. the Step Pyramid of Djoser). 1539 1075 BCE) to witness new developments (cf. The latter is twotiered : first the Duat is confronted (the king becomes Osiris). Giza pyramids). Ancient Egyptian culture had reached its pinnacle. "Great is Khafre" (Khafre). "Menkaure is Divine" (Menkaure). the primordial ocean of unending potential outside creation. "the one that comes in peace".2487 BCE). when King Khephren (ca. Solar creator-god Re. and we have to wait until the New Kingdom (ca. engineering. The latter did not assimilate or reject the other deities (as in monotheism. The original battle was reorchestrated as a smaller part within the scheme of a single. the Ba of the king is transformed into a spirit rejoining the Imperishables. ritual and sapiental teachings had been realized. Amduat. a rising as given by . focusing on the divine king while in power (cf.332 BCE). Atenism and Amonism). . 2654 . the royal ritual issued a new emphasis on the single. "The Purified Pyramid" (Shepseskaf).2205 BCE). Snofru (ca. Canonical attainments in science. all-powerful creator : Atum-Re. medicine. the double stairway. The pyramid is a stairway to heaven. but became their original point of departure. In architecture (cf. mathematics. to name but a few areas of interest.

and in the Vth Dynasty. The result was thus inevitable confusion. The popular Osiris and the crucial battle between his son Horus and Seth.160. Osiris became the "Sun of the night". He was a specialist.the henotheist religion of Re As Papyrus Westcar puts into evidence. 2487 .83. "From the 3th Dynasty we have the evidence for a new emphasis on a single creator. Osiris is lifted to the sky.ca. were apparently not ousted from the royal mindset. Re became a state god and Pharaoh the son of Re. King Unas included. his divine family-drama became part of the cycle of the "Great Re".2480 BCE) highpriest of Re and begotten by Re himself. would do the same in the next eighty years. The result was the birth of a divine child. Sacred writing realizes its first internal structure : words joined . "In the royal and state temple theology. the Sun-god. Re had visited the wife of Userra." Quirke. but they become a smaller part within the general scheme of a single all-powerful creator. p. On the contrary. classical Egyptian arrangement of divine powers. p. the Lectorpriest. Six of the seven kings of this Vth Dynasty. we have just shown how he also tinctures the Solar teaching of the celestial kingdom of the dead with Osirian doctrines. and while he is there Solarized.5m and height = 49m) and less painstaking methods of construction. eclipsing the balance between the good Horus and the anarchic Seth. its small size : side = 73. and master of the mortuary rituals for the royals. These temples were personal monuments to each king's continued relationship with Re during life and in the afterlife. The pyramid of Userkaf was built at North Saqqara. 1972. The battles of Horus and Seth do no disappear in the new. the "Head of Mysteries". the overarching & overseeing deity. although an essential tension between both myths continued to exist throughout the Old Kingdom. a highpriest of Re. He was attended by the "Heri-Shesheta". as the two faiths interpenetrated. The powerful influence of Re made the first Pharaoh of the Vth Dynasty (King Userkaf . or "Kheri-Heb" appears in scenes." Breasted. The funerary ritual was also elaborated. These developments evidence an increased interiority. The main surviving architectural achievement of Pharaoh Userkaf was his temple dedicated to Re. It evidences a truly substantial reevaluation of the rigid monumentality of the previous Dynasty (cf. the beginning of the Vth Dynasty saw major changes in Egyptian religion. close to the northeastern corner of Djoser's enclosure. 2001.

2548 . in the royal cult. three central natural types emerge : on the one hand. The various natural types work together under the overarching order of Re. Every night they are reborn with him. who provided himself with the name "belongs to the firmament". even Horus. word-images created through imagination and the interplay of meaningful objective relational contexts. the original unity of the divine is not eclipsed. Thanks to the tomb. Pharaoh. the potential to autogenerate floating in the inert waters of chaos. is the first to bear the name "son of Re" ("sA Ra"). he is blessed by the latter and receives a "good Nile". being the son of Re. In-between there is Osiris. and. returns the "right order" to his father (as the sole god on Earth. his father. Because of this emphasis on Re. the royal titulary Changes in the royal funerary rituals had already been monumentally expressed by Kings Sneferu and Khufu. his father may descend from the sky and assist his son. The deities are so many appearances of the creator. the divine king. multiplicity is not eliminated.e. the creator-god Re. To evidence unity.. To operate the multiple. on the other hand. The subject has no transparancy of its own. "father of the gods" and giver of life. However. The actions of the "I"-form are objective states which are not yet (self) reflective. Likewise. his son Pharaoh is present in more than hundred temples simultaneously and he alone effectuates the necessary rituals to make the god find his shrine pleasant and become united with his statue. His brother or half brother King Khephren (ca. he is the only one able to do so). the "Ba of Nun". Re surpassed all other deities. 2540 . Because he worships his father properly (effectively).2540 BCE). the prototype of the regeneration brought by darkness and silence. Subjectivity was expressed as a function of an objective state. The dead would thus continue to rule and Egypt would last for millions of years . a constellational henotheism ensued. Deities only communicate with other deities. The opacity of the material side of presence prevailed. Internalization led to the formation of preconcepts. Pharaoh Radjedef (ca. his residence and magical power to assure a "good Nile".2514 BCE) .together in simple sentences. the sky god and emblem of the "Followers of Horus". the signs of far-reaching religious change become institutional. This is Atum. but under Khufu's son. who is their beginning and end. i.. A human coming face to face with the god dies. but functions as a "collective Self" walking the Lunar and Solar paths. Pharaoh Radjedef.

This titulary ("nxb. but his divine nature was already present at birth (cf. the king becomes the "son of Re" in actu exercito only after having received his throne-name. the elder sky god (Horus in the palace. or Amen-Râ. 1989." Budge. i. By adding "son of Re" to the birth name. the son of the unique creator-god and god of light. preceded by "son of Re". The five names of the royal titulary. are : 1.33. Both names were enclosed by an oval ring (suggestive of the Solar cycle). As a prince. p. As the name of someone was crucial and all-important for his or her survival and effectiveness. At his coronation. When enthroned. whether of Egyptian origin or not. Banner name or Ka-name : designating the king as the manifestation of Horus. In later days. The "prenomen" name is for all of eternity. for he was conceived by Re himself. the Horus name. the king received a "prenomen". This enclosure may be compared with the wall surrounding the temple. a temporal as well as a spiritual declaration of divine rule. The "nomen" name is phenomenal. he was the son of a divine father. it was asserted by his priesthood that the god assumed the human form of a man and begot the king of Egypt. who rules over Egypt in the former's name. the star of stars.e. as divine king he is a Lone Star. the royal Ka).t") consisted of 5 titles or "rn wr". not . my italics. Re. a divine name referring to Re. a cartouche. As the "son of Re". Re begets the king. called himself the 'son of Râ'. "great names". guaranteed success in the afterlife. Thus it reflects the Solar horizon of the Sun-disk and assures the clear distinction between the divine and the profane.incorporated the royal title "son of Re" in his official. Each of these express a specific view-point on kingship. the royal placenta). the royal name was the "name of names". thereby expressing the idea of the divine king being the human form of Re at birth. royal titulary. became the King of the Gods. "From this time onward every king of Egypt. the divine birth (not yet divine right) of the royal prince was underlined. King Khephren added a fifth name to his four other titulary names. To know and understand Pharaoh's names revealed his power in life and to have one's own name written next to his. The definitive form of the royal titulary was attained : it began with the Horus Name of the Early Dynastic Period and ended with the name of the king at birth (as a prince). Just as the "sah" is the result of "senetjer" or ritual consecration. he received the "form" of kingship ritually (cf. when Amen.

When speaking of the (palace) facade. In the Early Dynastic Period. The concept of the king embodying both goddesses. a falcon atop a beaded collar (meaning "gold"). the Nebti name or "Two Ladies" title : first met in the reign of Pharaoh Aha. the divine prototype and patron of the Egyptian kings. for instance. In more elaborate New Kingdom examples. Nekhbet and Uadjit ("wADiit") were the protective goddesses of Upper and Lower Egypt respectively (a vulture & a cobra. His name of birth would not appear in official documents. it was the king’s official name. hence the appellation "Horus-name". This name was not the birth name of the king. The "Two Ladies" correspond to these "Two Lords". The notion of "gold" may thus be linked to neheh-time & its eternal repetition. 3. In the New Kingdom. is first attested in the IVth Dynasty and is represented by a Horus falcon atop a beaded collar ("nbw" . Golden Horus name or Falcon of Gold name : this name of gold. or "Horus who fights".yet Horus. here on a geographical level . was "Horus-Aha". The Papyrus of Ani (chapter 77) makes the Falcon of Gold refer to the Sekhet Hetep. King Aha. although both were confused). but it was usually quite variable. The Ancient Egyptian name for this facade was "serekh". but it was given to him when he ascended the throne. as well as to his enduring qualities (gold was considered to be the untarnished "flesh" of the deities). The earliest divine kings. this name is often used in modern texts as well. ruled with this Horus name alone. each atop the basket for "Lady"). son of Osiris. These two refer to the dual kingdom the king unites as "Lord of the Two Lands". The name might refer to the wealth and splendour of Pharaoh's divinity. This name is often written within a rectangular frame. the perched falcon of Horus was part of the name of the king. highlights the reconciliation of opposites to maintain the balance. During the Early Dynastic Period and the early Old Kingdom. it lost its importance to the prenomen en nomen from the end of the Old Kingdom on. Horus is wearing the double crown and is accompanied by the Sun and an Uraeus . the Gold name. Although it would continue to be used throughout the entire Ancient Egyptian history. and to the royal gods Horus and Seth (Lower and Upper Egypt respectively). the Field of Peace. On top of this "serekh" is perched the falcon of Horus. at the bottom of which is seen a design of recessed panelling. The burial-chamber in the royal tombs of the New Kingdom was often called the "golden room".gold). "Mighty Bull" was added at the beginning of the name. the "Followers of Horus". such as we find in the facades of early tombs and in the false doors of many private tombs. 2. .

or "Amun is pleased". i. On a single royal monument. honorific transposition) . the ends tied together. or "Re is the Lord of Maat" and not "Amenhotep". when it was often combined with the Nebti-name. all five names seldom appear together. 4. When only one name was used. written first (cf. an Egyptian priest of the third century BCE. "King of Upper and Lower Egypt" or "Dual Kingdom" and is enclosed (in a cartouche). which translates as "he of the sedge and bee". the Throne name was the most common.our family-name) : always preceded by the epithet "son of Re". who wrote a history of the Dynasties (of which only fragments have survived). he and his kingdom endure . Usually. avoiding the necessity to add numbers to the personal names. After coronation. It affirmed Pharaoh was by birthright a god. but because it was there for all of eternity. 5. the Throne name (prenomen) : is preceded by the "nswt-bitii" title. For example. It would take until the end of the IIIth Dynasty before it came into use and eventually replaced the Horus-name as the most important official royal name. it was also used when the king had died. The kings of old were named by their Horus name. his Throne name. A "cartouche" or "royal ring" depicts a loop formed by a rope.e. It is the name given to the prince at birth. It put him in a narrow relationship with the universal Solar god Re. it was also enclosed in a cartouche. More recent scholarship conjectures the name to be a statement regarding Pharaoh and his policies (instead of a theological statement concerning the god). King Amenhotep III was named "Nebmaatre". suggestive of the . It was compounded with the name of the Sun god Re (including the hieroglyph of the disk of the Sun). The gold name may convey the same notion of eternity. the personal name of Pharaoh (nomen . The systematic presence of the name of Re in the prenomen (starting with Pharaoh Khephren) indicates it was given to the king when he ascended the throne. expressing the wish that the king may be an eternal Horus. The loop can be seen as the cycle of the Sun itself. a method in vogue since the time of Manetho. The first known example of this title is dated to the reign of Pharaoh Den. the elliptical movement of the Earth around the Sun). the name given to the royal prince at birth (indicative of his family lineage).not (only) because of the presence of actual gold. by his contemporaries. The crucial role of "Tail-in-Mouth" in the VIth Hour of the Amduat refers to this "encircling of creation". the celestial ecliptic (in reality. This conveys the notions of "eternity" and "encompassing the entire creation".

the nomen is preceded by "the son of Re". and also the only living being possessing a "Ba" or principle of transformation (dynamism. His "name of names" conveys his extraordinary nature in the order of things. movement). with a Ba becoming an Akh (soul becoming spirit). he does not use this epithet as long as his father rules. but without the "royal Ka". The nomen of the prince underlines his divine origination and vocation. change. XIIth (Theban) Dynasty : Mighty Horus Great of Might He of the Two Ladies Taking possession of the inheritance of the Two Lands Horus of Gold Permanent of Life King of Upper and Lower Egypt Maat of Re (Nimaatre). it is preceded by "son of Re".overseeing qualities of the Falcon flying over the "Two Lands". only his Throne name is heard. After the theological changes brought about by the Old Kingdom Heliopolitans. Son of Re Amun at the Head the theology of Heliopolis In the theology of Heliopolis (the "On" of the Bible and today the Coptic . the king is no longer called by his princely nomen name. which is truly exceptional. Whenever used. tries to encompass the supernatural effectivity of the presence of the divine king on Earth. As a king. The complexity of the titulary and the use of these names. but also a divine being. 1818 . the complete titulary of Pharaoh Amenemhet III (ca. He is a human being with a personal name. Although in the titulary. Once crowned.1773 BCE) Middle Kingdom. The king is "divine" because he is an incarnated Akh. the Throne name was preferred.

During the twelve hours of the night of the Netherworld. The latter is due to the autogenic activity of the sole creator-god Atum.. the unique supreme deity (cf. ascends with a ladder or flies as a bird. as the sole son of Re. "Nun" : the unmanifested sameness of everything that is not light . the abode of the Imperishable Stars. he arrives there as an awesome god (cf. the darkest point is reached. Re at dusk and his entry into the Netherworld to regenerate. The stars shining in Osiris' Netherworld are in the upper sky. projected near the Northern Circumpolar Stars . At midnight.  Grosso modo. the powerful Sa-energy of the universal Heka-field can be harvested. In the latter. the spirits of Re. is a continuing cycle of renewal (in neheh-time). fountain of rejuvenation and endless power. the First Time. Osiris rose in the realm of the dead. in the Sun's domain. shared by the majority of Egyptians. the king is ensured of an ongoing increase in spirituality (an efficiency due to the transformation of his Ba into an Akh. He sails on Re's Bark of Millions of Years.  "Atum" : unmanifested light diffused in Nun . The lightland of Re. Hornung. complementing the contextual. the agrarian. this Heliopolitan ideology of the divine king was Solar. ascends to the realm of Atum.. Re travels (and countless Bas with him) on his Bark of Millions of Years.suburb of Cairo). There. Osiris was pulled out of his slumber and became the king of the "beautiful West" . first occurrence of eternally recurrent light . When Pharaoh Horus brought his restored eye to his father. Thanks to the magic of Isis and Thoth. the pantheon. Cannibal Hymn). 1986). stellar & national. Here. a grasshopper or sacred smoke . He escapes the realm of Geb (the Earth) and the Duat of Osiris (the land of the dead). a perpetuum mobile at the core of (stellar) light.  "Re" : the manifest presence of Atum as light on the primordial "hill". regional and variable Lunar spirituality of the common Egyptians. The four compass points and the Heliopolitan ritual. the WEST dusk NORTH nadir . Isis & Osiris as Moon deities). a spirit of light) and a union with the only true source of life and youth.  "Atum-Kheprer" : the unmanifested. the role of Osiris was as crucial as the yearly inundation (cf. Sothic calendar) and the monthly cycle of fertility (cf. the divine king of Egypt.

" Lesko. There are remnants of a small entrance chapel. Located between the enclosures of Djoser's pyramid and Sekhemkhet's.2348 BCE) was the last Pharaoh of the Vth Dynasty. p. the heat of Seth. 2378 . The ritual complex of King Unas the architecture King Unas. p. 1997. is an intellectually manipulated construction of the historic period. Kemp (1989) and Lesko (1999) doubt whether. in the middle of its North side. the mourning of Isis. associating Heliopolitanism with elitism and Osirian faith with populism. the end result of the nocturnal regeneration of the deities thanks to Re and his (re)union with Osiris .sons of Horus and Pharaoh. state-approved written texts.Horus as king . in the Predynastic and the historical periods.) to promote the divinity of the king of Egypt. "Kemp has suggested that Egyptian religion. His pyramid at Saqqara.154). 2487 2480 BCE).31. the place of birth of the Egyptian state.. the slaying of Osiris. rebirth and the Ka-statue (the false door).. . SOUTH zenith For good reasons. the fierce battle between Horus and Seth and the justification of the former as the "avenger of his father" . most likely of the middle or late Old Kingdom (. a model for subsequent rulers. the place of light. called "Perfect are the Placed of Unas".Horus as a child . Heliopolitan henotheism was shared by the vast majority of unlettered Egyptians. The opposite seems to be true. The pyramid temple was erected directly over the substructure of the IInd Dynasty tomb assigned to King Hetepsekhemwy. King Unas completed "a historical and architectural symmetry" (Lehner. The entrance of the pyramid proper. the inundation given by Osiris (Sothis). is almost diagionally opposed to the pyramid of Userkaf (ca. 3. 1999. opens at ground level in the pavement of the pyramid court (and not in the face of the pyramid). as we know it from the formal. the founder of this Heliopolitan Dynasty. The culmination of Re at noon. is at the South-western corner of Djoser's enclosure and the smallest of all known Old Kingdom pyramids. The complex. "Khepri". Unis or Wenis (ca. EAST dawn The rise of Re's rebirth at dawn.

The processional causeway to the pyramid of Unas is 750m long and equal to Pharaoh Khufu's. a slit is left open. bearded "Aziatics". (after Lehner. a causeway and a valley temple below. the complex had fallen into ruins. 1997.. causing the famous name of Unas to live again . Khaemwaset. harvesting scenes (grain. Most causeways have been destroyed. woman bearing offerings. 2378 .. figs & honey). battles with enemies.75 m². of which only fragments survive. A wide array of scenes once covered the wall : boats transporting granite palm columns. The causeway had two changes of angle. but that of King Unas at Saqqara is in a good condition and hand been restored in modern times. the complex of Unas included a pyramidcomplex. a long corridor with high walls and an insulating roof. adjacent to a canal. The Pyramid was 57. Coming in by boat. restored it. granite cornices or lintels. One then proceeded uphill along a causeway. . craftsmen working gold & copper. and South of the second bend lay two boat pits (each 45m long).2348 BCE). prisoners begging for mercy .. son of Ramessess II and high priest at Memphis. deer hunted by greyhounds. so a shaft of light illuminates the gallery of brightly painted reliefs. p. More than 1000 years after King Unas died. In its roof.155) Like most Old Kingdom pyramids. preparatory rituals took place in the valley temple. scenes of starving people. By the New Kingdom.. 43 m high.Plan of the Pyramid-complex of Unas (ca. with a slope of 56°. archers.

transverse corridor : the foretemple had an entrance hall and a pillared court and the secret. A temenos wall surrounded the complex. p. A network of storerooms enclosed these elements. and the pyramid reduced to a small heap of debris. an antechamber (a high square room with in the middle a single granite pillar) and a sanctuary. Today it is in ruin.Plan of the Valley temple and Pyramid-complex of Unas (after Lehner.154) The pyramid-complex of Unas consisted of two parts separated by a long. inner temple included a hall with five statue niches. There the offerings and sacred objects for the royal ritual were kept. . 1997. The temple design itself is also lost.

Plan of the royal tomb underneath the pyramid of Unas. the first hieroglyphs appear. like Pepi II's pyramid temple. This West wall against the pyramid was covered by a granite stela. Once this barrier passed. the this-life ritual of regeneration of the divine king. The West end of the sanctuary abutted the East wall of the pyramid. In the latter. If the pyramid-complex of Unas became the model for the later pyramid temples. then the purpose of certain parts of the temple may be inferred by studying later examples. . 26° (Khafre). the transverse corridor was adorned with reliefs illustrating the Sed festival. It is not possible to stand upright. The passage is oriented to specific northern stars. The slope is deliberate and varies between 28° (Khufu). It slopes down to a corridor-chamber or vestibule. followed by the usual horizontal passage with three granite portcullis slabs. to be read from the inside of the pyramid out. serving as point of contact between the world of the living and the realm of the dead (the tomb below). 25° (Pepi II) or 22° in the case of the pyramid of Unas. it is necessary to bend over in order to move down the passage. At its foot an altar was set up and offerings were brought by priests. Entering the pyramid from the North.

Plan of the royal tomb underneath the pyramid of Unas. The middle recess of this possible tomb-chapel lies lower but aligned with the false door of the sanctuary above. . pentagram-like stars were carved in relief on a sky-blue background. Standing up. a doorway opens to the undecorated and uninscribed tomb-chapel with three recesses. golden. left picture). Egyptologists are not sure about the role of this triple chamber. the so-called "serdab" or "cellar". directly under the pyramid's centre axis. one is surrounded on all sides by blue-tinted hieroglyphs. On the ceiling of the tomb. This entrance/exit corridor then opens into the antechamber. The North and South walls of the antechamber and the burial-chamber stop short of the ceiling. forming a kind of shelf below it (cf. In the East of the antechamber (on the left hand side when entering the tomb).

possibly because the lotus represents dawn. eternal recurrent (as Re.© Piankoff. with reed-mats and a wood-frame enclosure. merging the finite life of the king (both alife & deceased ?) with the infinite life. there are no texts. A. western half of North & South walls in alabaster. a passage-way leads to the burial-chamber. Instead. : The Pyramid of Unas. the emergence of light as Nefertem. .pyramid of King Unas. In its immediate vincinity. This has a black granite sarcophagus at its West end. an iconography derived from the royal mastaba tombs of the First Dynasty. these motifs recur. On the West of the antechamber (at the right hand side when entering the tomb and precisely opposite the Ka-chapel). everlasting (as Osiris. 1968. viewed as "djedet". the son of dawn.Princeton. Together with the icon of two lotus flowers back to back. we see a palace-façade design. Sarcophagus West. This would make the royal ritual a ceremony of life. through light). through darkness) and "neheh". Burial-chamber . Princeton University Press .

on which these designs were carved. they lost their sight-line to Iunu (Heliopolis). are made of polished alabaster." Naydler. or "life" and had a milky color (milk was also called "ankh was". Adding a Solar temple to the pyramid complex (cf. The walls around the sarcophagus. in order to erect their pyramid complex. "One of the recurrent motifs is that of two lotus flowers with their stems but no leaves. the mummy is in the total darkness of Osiris. whereas all the other walls of the tomb are in Tura limestone.was freed from this stricture. In the West. The plateau being full. these spiritual symbols learn us a lot suggesting the sacredness of this uninscribed area of the tomb. touched by the rays of the sun. overtowered by the West Gable hieroglyphs. certain ritual events took place that were -in the pyramid of Unas. This is a motif that occurs in many Old Kingdom tombs and on tomb artifacts. while the falso door was a place of communication between realms. and initiating oration.regarded as too delicate to reveal in words. The tombs of the divine kings were petrified. Alabaster is soft and translucent. and what was only implied by the symbolic designs in the Unas pyramid was now openly expressed in words. p. ascending to illumination. acting as magical protection devices."All of these considerations may lead us to conclude that in the highly sensitive space surrounding the sarcophagus. but especially on sarcophagi and around false doors. represented by the "sons of Horus". Sunk in the floor to the left (South) of the foot of the sarcophagus was the canopic chest. was preeminently a symbols of breakthrough from one world to another. The significance of this is that the sarcophagus was a place of transition between the physical and spiritual worlds. or lords of the four pillars of the physical world the deceased (or the high priest) has left. precisely because in this way he became the sole guardian of the magical keys of the kingdom : a "good" Nile. But in later times. p. after the reign of King Teti. whose manner of growth involves passing out of the water element in order to flower in the air. represented back to back. Only the king was the son of Re on Earth (cf. a perishable material. 2005. 2005. the immediate vincinity of the sarcophagus -especially the West wall. Heavenly Cow). the place of regeneration. had to leave Giza. the kings of the Vth Dynasty.162. meant to protect the four "ritual" elements of the physical body. allowing it to be reborn. In doing so. It is of for this reason that the pyramid of Unas contains so little textual reference to the Osirian rememberment : It was considered too delicate a matter to put into words. King Userkaf) compensated for the distance. . "the sap of life"). Taken together. The lotus.164. In the Old Kingdom. temples for the cult of the deities were usually made out of brick." Naydler. It was referred to as "ankh".

remained stone edifices. Thanks to Re the deities endured. It stood at the back of an open court (the best example is King Neuserre's at Abu Ghurab. Later cult temples. Princeton University Press . corridor North The royal cult is origin and goal of the traditional theologies of the Old Kingdom (Heliopolitan. were exceptional & foundational. was also part of it. a massive stone mound shaped like a squat obelisk was used.pyramid of King Unas passage-way West to Burial-chamber. 1968. both the royal cult and the cult of the deities (in casu Atum-Re) took place in temples made out of lasting materials. Without the .Unas ?). but there must have been more). even disconnected from the royal cult. Service to the father of the king. To represent the link with the Sun. and situated riverside). following the model of the pyramid complex.Princeton. : The Pyramid of Unas. © Piankoff. A. and creator of all deities. Memphite & Osirian). Antechamber . Hermopolitan. As a result. The royal cult also served this-life purposes (of which the celebration of the Sed festival is an outstanding example.assuring the royal cult was directly associated with the son of Re on Earth. These "Heliopolitan" Dynasties (Djoser .

The Nile records his magic. pristine strand of this culture is revealed. It precedes the textualization of the Vedas. p." Hornung. This coincides with a general increase of writing in general in the later Vth Dynasty. but a composition to be viewed as an integrated whole. a fairly unmixed. the living Horus-king guarantees a "good Nile" and his united administration creates economic surplus. IVth & Vth Dynasties. antechamber. The divine nature of the king is the core myth holding Ancient Egyptian society together. the brilliance of his Great Mansion. Great Speech and Maat. in particular its royal cult. The Unas text. reckoned at ca. remaining very situational and with limited functionality.36. In the "ideal" of the Heliopolitan priests. 1999. in 228 of the 759 (Faulkner. . the intellectual elite produced concrete concepts. is crucial to understand the "canon" of the Old Kingdom mentality and way of life. there is no Maat and the created world returns to chaos. "The Pyramid Texts reflect not only an Egyptian vision of the afterlife but also the entire background of Old Kingdom religious and social structures. by carving them in stone and thereby also endowing them with greater magical power. not only of Egypt. truth & justice. 2348 BCE). the texts King Unas was the first to include hieroglyphic inscriptions in his royal tomb.king. this state ideology was already fully in place (cf. the first historical account of the (Heliopolitan) religion of the Old Kingdom. contains. Centuries before Unas. namely in its corridor. The decision on Wenis's part has provided for us the earliest collection of religious texts. The Unas text is a literary masterpiece summarizing the best theology of the moment. previously handed down on perishable papyrus. Especially in the IIIth. but of all humankind. It is not a loose set of funerary spells. but the culture at large was still steeped in myth and pre-rational pre-concepts. passage-way & burial-chamber. The area around the sarcophagus and the serdab are left uninscribed. It explains royal magic (effectiveness). while the "pacification" of the "two lands" is his control & power. as light to darkness. the great building projects). a unity of temporal and spiritual activities. 1969) known "utterances". "But one cannot help suspecting that a fundamental revision of the ritual coincided with the decision to immortalize these spells. No doubt. The ideal of divine kingship. as in proto-rational cognition. carved and filled with blue pigment. 1900 BCE (Unas died ca. albeit in early ante-rational thinking.

"mdw" = "speech"). irrespective of the kind of text or its placement in the tombs. as well as the earliest example of extended writing worldwide (including a rich pallet of various styles. later translated into German. whereas in the last half of the previous century great advances in Ancient Egyptian had been made. 2002. forms & intentions). is an inventory of all texts. in ways that seem to imply copying and then collation from a more cursive original. For him. with a significant number of corrections. as is that of King Iby (VIIIth Dynasty). as a rule.12. Technically. Piankoff translated the text in his The Pyramid of Unas. p. incomplete and never revised by its author. enabling him to restore many lacunae.13.e. more material had come to light. The small pyramids of the three wives of King Pepi II (Neith. Meanwhile. i. "to say" or "to say the words". with new & refreshing grammatical & semantic perspectives. so called because the expression "Dd mdw" ("Dd" = "word" ." Allen. Discovered by Maspero in 1881.and they incorporate an ancient worldview much different from that of more familiar cultures.2205 BCE) of the VIth Dynasty. Finally in 1969. my italics. with 714 utterances). the acclaimed standard English translation. atop most texts. Faulkner published his The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts. both to the original ink draft and to the carved signs. 2005. Mercer published the first English version and in 1968. Pharaohs Teti. p. In 1952. . these compositions form the first known religious corpus in world literature. The quality of these inscriptions is however relatively crude and they are not part of the inventory realized by Sethe (1908). the Pyramid Texts are a corpus consisting of "utterances" or "spells". allowing for a classification. the "standard edition" of the Pyramid Texts. Sethe's work was bulky. Ipwet and Oudjebeten) are also inscribed. "The actual inscription of text on the walls of the Pyramid of Unas shows considerable redactional care. 4200 years. The one introduced by Sethe (1910. An untainted primary religious source ! Together with the texts found in the tombs of King Unas' successors." Eyre. Merenre & Pepi II (ca. Pepi I. 2270 . the Unas text had been buried and left undisturbed for ca. Integrating both variables underlines the effort to bring out the dramatic & ritualistic features of these texts. There can indeed be no reasonable doubt that inscriptions themselves were copied immediately from papyrus text. the sacred words to be recited is.

but suffering damage). Neith. nor has our knowledge of Ancient Egyptian stopped advancing. he also includes Ankhesenpepi II. The interpretation of the Pyramid Texts "They include very ancient texts among those which were nearly contemporary with the pyramids in which they were inscribed. high priest of Ptah. This clear translation of the Unas text is in many ways remarkable and most welcome. containing the texts found in 10 tombs (besides the canonical five. litanies. In the previous century. a continuous manuscript tradition and an underlying archival tradition. 4. This is also the best preserved body of text representing a complete set." Faulkner.1759 BCE) tomb of the official Senwosret-Ankh.v. p. Wedjebetni & Ibi).. No doubt. the orthography is apt to be unusual . rebirth & illumination. Maspero (1884. 2005. the ascension of Pharaoh. In 2005. magical texts. The Unas text was copied in the Middle Kingdom (ca. offering rituals. 1938 . this translation by Allen excells Faulkner's and is a humbling experience for anyone studying these texts for years. in particular regarding the use of verbal forms.e. Allen published The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts. authors realized they include drama. and there are many mythological and other allusions of which the purport is obscure to the translator of today. etc. p. the Pyramid Texts were a free collection of magical . his arrival & settling in heaven. as well as offering translations of passages beforehand deemed untranslatable. prayers. prayers and magical spells. hymns. imposing on the modern reader problems of grammar and vocabulary . glorifications. Iput II. 1969.149. calling for revision...." Naydler. p. charms. They offer a glimpse of an African. ". anterational perspective on death. the Unas texts were evidently regarded as an integral work in their own right. divine offerings. dominated by Re-Atum of Heliopolis (Pepi II has the most complete surviving texts of the later pyramids. providing the standard approach to the theology of the Old Kingdom. suggesting the presence of a separate corpus (on papyrus ?). For Sethe (1908). and seem to have acquired 'canonical' status .The list of tombs containing Pyramid Texts is apparently never final. i.3) assumed these texts were exclusively funerary and divided them in ritual texts.

by virtue of their presence. the texts used in the provision of supplies. Words made these rituals work. 2001. The presence of offering-texts feeds the subtle bodies of the deceased.) In other words." Morenz. dispensing with the need for daily priestly offerings to his Ka (in the pyramid temple above) as well as elaborate monumental buildings.utterances. the so-called "voiceofferings"). The sarcophagus chamber texts have to be read first. did not suffice to maintain the divine forces. p. corridors and courts through which the procession passed on its way to the pyramid. my italics. but embody their double (cf. even when they conformed to the prescriptions regarding purity and dietary taboos (e. "We have already pointed out that the spells of the so-called sacrificial ritual. "Food offerings alone. the Lascaux pictures and the Eastern desert petroglyphs). they become efficient (for all of eternity). Hence. however. the outer pyramid temple to the antechamber and the sanctuary to the burial-chamber. dark potential of hieroglyphs is evidenced by the sacrificial rituals found in the extended mortuary literature. This is the standard funerary interpretation. This view was challenged by Arnold (1977). statues. (. assisted the divine king in his resurrection & ascension de opere operato. who tried to discover the function of the pyramid complex by examining the wall reliefs.229. texts were written down so that the dead themselves could 'proclaim the provision of supplies' ("nis dbHt-Htp") instead of this being done by unreliable priests. no pork. no fish).e.. He himself uttered the words of power to regenerate himself and rise up. 1996. The hidden. The Ba of the deceased reads the words and the latter manifest their meaning." Traunecker. This was the nucleus around which the texts crystallized. i. But it was not easy to identify where each spell was recited.40. the causeway to the entrance corridor.. once properly recited (by the dead and/or the living.g. Sacred words or hieroglyphs not only describe objects. Schott (1945) & Ricke (1950) advanced the thesis that at the time of the funeral. which. These forces were nothing without ritual and efficacious speech. these texts were recited in the various chambers. secret. were inscribed in a prominent place where they could be seen by the dead person resting in his sarcophagus. guaranteeing a safe passage to the afterlife. inscriptions and architectural features of the complex itself. The valley temple corresponded to the vestibule. p. These refer little to funerary rituals ! Schott discovered three literary forms : (a) dramatic .

For Faulkner (1969). prayers. Again a different order from that of Sethe. learned and ingenious interpretation can properly be accessed only by one who has examined it in terms of the vast and diverse material.." Morenz. we have to read the texts in the burialchamber last ! For Spiegel (1953 & 1971) the texts are an integral part of the funerary ritual performed in the tomb and hence recited in the area were they were inscribed. In his translation. the text begins on the West wall of the entrance corridor. hymns and petitions was to guarantee the king's resurrection and new birth. absorption of the substance of the deities and exaltation in the embrace of Re-Atum. It entails rebirth. the Pyramid Texts are to be regarded as religious and funerary literature. continue in the burial-chamber and re-enter the antechamber on its South wall. Like Schott. it appears that quite serious objections may be levelled against numerous points in the argumentation and thus against the thesis as such. ascent.. the king being immortal like the other deities. As for Scott the funerary procession terminated in the inner pyramid temple (corresponding with the sarcophagus room). only the offering liturgy (on the North wall of the burial-chamber) belongs to the funerary ritual proper. traveling in the Solar Barque. Hence. Morenz wrote : "This bold.texts recited by the participants in a ritual drama. my italics. culminating in union with the godhead.228-229. When this is done. They reflect the royal burial ritual taking place solely in the tomb underneath the pyramid. Likewise. These conjectures were criticized. moves to the antechamber for the king's ascension and projects his final deification in the burial-chamber. ending on the East wall of the entrance corridor . In 1960. involving transfiguration and deification. (b) hymns assisting the ritual drama and (c) transfiguration spells. 1996. According to Mercer (1952). The purpose of the magical & mythical formulae. Mercer follows Sethe's classification. in which the scene happens in the spirit worlds while the king speaks through the reciting priest. Scott and Ricke ! Spiegel is the first to claim the sarcophagus chamber represents the Duat and the antechamber the Akhet. They describe the king's postmortem journey to the stars . Re-Atum. p. Piankoff begins to read the text in the corridor leading into the tomb. for Piankoff (1968) the texts describe a postmortem mystical journey. Their placement reflects the entry of the funerary procession into the tomb.

"Allen's analysis of the sequence of spells in the pyramid of Wenis defines . opening of the mouth). There is a spatial semantic at work. further complementing the importance of symbolism in the general layout of the mortuary complex in general and the royal tomb in particular. The texts are used by the king in the afterlife. Horus. providing him knowledge and magical power. assisting him in the process of his deification. (b) the offering ritual and (c) the burial ritual on the West wall of the antechamber. The order is determined by the thematic relationship of the texts to the architectural symbolism of the two chambers and their four quarters. p. Altenmüller (1972) agrees with Schott & Ricke that these texts were recited in the pyramid temple. His translation again follows Sethe's classification. Spells recited during the burial ritual were thus eternalized as divine words on the walls.and transformation into one (Faulkner. relying mostly on mythological references and worldplay to determine which text corresponds to which representation. Barta returns to the interpretation of Sethe. The position of particular groups of texts within Unas' pyramid corresponds with the placement of the same texts in other pyramids. as well as in the tomb. In the Unas text. The goal of these texts extended beyond the short duration of the actual funerary ritual. Allen was able to establish a coherent model describing the funerary ideology of these royal tombs without reference to conjectured stages of a funerary ritual. He based his order of the text on (a) the sequencing found in the tomb of SenwosretAnkh and (b) his conjectured order of the royal funerary ritual as portrayed in the later Middle and New Kingdom private tombs. "Schott. Barta accepts that the Duat might be accessible to the king while he is still living.. he isolates three main sections : (a) the funerary procession and actions on the mummy (censing. libation. Osing (1986) & Allen (1988) compared the location of the texts within the tomb of Unas with other Old Kingdom pyramids and the tomb of SenwosretAnkh at Lisht. involving priests assuming the god-forms of Re." Naydler. He attempts to explain every utterance in terms of the mortuary rituals. and Altenmüller all see the key to understanding the Pyramid Texts as lying outside the texts themselves. 2005. Seth and Thoth.180. They serve the king in the afterlife.. but the texts themselves are intended to help the deceased king . Spiegel. 1966). Barta (1981) doubts whether the Pyramid Texts belong to the funerary ritual at all.

circumpolar (imperishable) Stars. through the doorway leading to the corridor -ascending by ladder.  . The direction of the texts was thus identical with the soul's path through the tomb. the locus of the becoming "Ax" ("Akh"). and stands at the door of the horizon to emerge from the Duat and start his spiritualization .  the Horizon (antechamber) : "Axt" ("Akhet"). an effective spirit. that the Cannibal Hymn.  the Imperishable sky (northern corridor) : the process of transfiguration (ultimate spiritualization) being completed. translated as "horizon". p. and so the reality of the king's passage to resurrection".) Allen's analysis focuses on the principle whereby the position of discrete units of ritual text asserts a functional identity between the theology of the text and the architectural symbolism of the pyramid substructure. to the outside of the pyramid via the second northern tunnel. flying to the Northern. The process of spiritualization ends with the emergence of the new light . (. exploiting themes familiar in the Underworld Books of the New Kingdom.. is both the junction of sky and Earth and a place in the sky underneath this point (before eastern dawn and after western dusk). The horizon is the place of becoming effective. a secret interstitial zone reached and crossed by boat. or passing like the setting sun from the west to his rising from the mouth of the horizon in the east. It is a zone of transition and a "radiant place". thematically belongs in its place (the East Gable). the "land of the blessed".through her vulva to birth at the door of the horizon. or exploiting the image of the king passing from his sarcophagus -the womb of Nut.44-45 & 47. From the darkness of the earth he passes to life in the light of the sky. The Horus-king has perpetuated offerings. 2002. It is separate from the sky and reached prior to it. 1988). Note (as did Allen. but neither Nun or sky. progressing from the burial chamber as underworld (duat) through the antechamber as horizon (akht) where he becomes Akh. the Netherworld is inaccessible to the living and outside normal human experience..to heaven (pet). moving from the innermost parts of the burial-chamber (the "Duat" in the West). through the antechamber (the Eastern horizon or "Akhet").the architecture as a material representation of the passage of the king through death to resurrection. becoming an Imperishable One. the Duat (burial-chamber) : though a part of the world (Earth). reaching the Field of Offering. It summarized the king's passage through the night sky to the Sun at dawn. The Field of Reeds is the realm of the deceased and the deities and the mystery of Osiris. Eyre. the Akhspirit leaves the tomb and ascends to the northern stars.

" Allen. and Heliopolitan ascension (cf. ." Eyre. whereas the latter is foremost funerary. a concern purely of funerary ritual. already at work in the Sed festival. and the markedly initiatory form of parts of the mortuary literature must be taken as a pointer to contemporary 'this-life' ritual that is otherwise lost from the archaeological record.Eyre (2002) suggests the training and initiation of the funerary priests points to this-life rituals. Osiris and the Sun.7. p. Egyptologists once considered these two themes as independent views of the afterlife that had become fused in the Pyramid Texts. resurrection. and safe passage to the afterlife is not. the texts of the burial-chamber). reveal an experiential dimension.72. According to Allen (2005). the texts in the antechamber).a view of the afterlife that remained remarkably consistent throughout ancient Egyptian history. These may be classified in two categories : Osirian rejuvenation (cf. and so also represent this-life initiatic experiences consciously sought by the divine king (cf. evidenced that the Pyramid Texts in general and the Unas texts in particular. the Pyramid Texts : "are largely concerned with the deceased's relationship to two gods. p. Recently. Egyptian initiation). but more recent research has shown that both belong to a single concept of the deceased's eternal existence after death . Perhaps the king rehearsed his forthcoming burial during life ? "The promise of divine assistance. Apparently the former was celebrated regularly. 2005. Naydler (2005). 2002. however. by suspending the funerary interpretation.

this points to the Solar & regenerative movement from West to East. as seen in the tomb. ritualistic interpretation of these ancient magical texts. and this for variant reasons. However. PT 219 on the South Wall continues on the East Wall. For Naydler (2005). my sequencing of the texts differs from both Allen & Naydler. the mind & magic of Re Let us try to integrate these various perspectives. taking into consideration the cognitive texture of the ante-rational mind as well as the dramatic. If we understand these texts as magical devices. 5. confirmed by what he sees as examples of inverse quioning.conjectured symbolism of the compass points Many variations regarding the reading direction of the pyramid texts of Unas prevail. For example. An integration of perspectives. nor that in the antechamber PT 260 on the West Wall continues on the South Wall. used in architecture to avoid making the joint between two blocks in the corner. Allen (2005) is not impressed that in the sacropagusroom. Allen's interpretation of Spiegler's conjecture (identifying the burialchamber with the Duat and the antechamber with the Akhet) seems very interesting and has been adapted. and realize each monarch .

then it seems likely each divine king.had his own political and theological preferences. which involved a return to the First Time ("zep tepi") of Atum-Khepri. elevating him above all possible beings and making him rise even above most deities (cf. In the books of the Netherworld. and (b) the "primordial field" underpinning creation. Re with his functions : "sia" (understanding) : often wrongly associated with "wisdom" ("saa"). strength and weight. Both concepts pre-figurate the omiscience & omnipotence of the Judeo-Christian God . If so. or "understanding". maybe adding a few spells of his own. In the Old Kingdom.  "hu" (authorative utterance) : the creative word of the supreme creator-god is uttered by his tongue. By doing so. To speak words of power is immediate and carries conviction. he left to posterity an elaborated theo-literary testament with magical effectivity. and spouse of both Heka and Thoth (deities of magic). when Atum-Kheprer hatched out of the primordial egg floating in Nun. He is mostly depicted or mentioned together with "Hu". Not only does the king's Great Speech know it all and carry the power of conviction & authority. "sia" is related to "knowledge".  "heka" (magic) : the creative power contained in the divine word of Atum. But also during life on Earth. This going back to the Golden Age lay at the core of both this-life and afterlife rituals. Both represent the basic functions of the divine mind : overarching understanding (overviewing the Two Lands) hand in hand with authority. This was his magical Great Speech. Maat represents the impersonal idea of  . For the Memphites. Sa-energy was present from the beginning. but it has immediate effectiveness and causal power. the self-created essence of Re. the Cannibal Hymn). The king is such a powerful cause that creation bows before the son of the Creator . titulary choice out of the available body of religious literature (available on papyrus). Late New Kingdom) . issued from the word of Atum when he created himself as Atum-Kheprer.  "maat" (truth & justice) : daughter of Re. "perception". holding the god's sacred papyrus scroll. to define his own royal cult. his royal cult was active and assured his renewal (as the Sed festivals testify). weight & power of command. made his own. "Heka" is used to denote (a) the "primordial Sa". the everdynamical energy of creation. the mind of Re was the heart of Ptah (cf. it became exemplary. Sia is the divine functionary at the right side of Re. they are represented near Re on his Sacred Barque . This magic is part of the logic of the Great Speech. "Hu" is also deified. "intelligent plan". and is always depicted together with Sia. and might be equated with the mind of Re. serving Pharaoh's welfare in the afterlife.

summarizes the Egyptian practice of wisdom and pursuit of justice & truth. spatiotemporal flow. Maat is the plummet of the balance of justice. the "common" view of "the heart". measurements) & recording (fixating)." Papyrus of Ani 18th Dynasty Chap. Truth is an equilibrium (a bringing together hand in hand with a keeping apart). measurable as the state of affairs given by the image. observation. U38 "mxAt". according to its stance. embodied by the divine king. namely the end result of the activities of the living person.involved. the divine view of truth & justice. Responding likewise. represented by a feather (H6). who offers "truth" to his father Re. the Witness of the Balance. using the plumb-line of the various equilibria in which these actual aggregates of events are dynamically -scale-wise. to flow between all . reequilibrating & correcting concrete states of affairs. while the input of sensation is recorded (mind) by Thoth. balance This New Kingdom exhortation by Anubis. but always from two different angles : on the one hand. The activities of the divine king cause : (a) Maat to be done for them and their environments and (b) the proper "Ka".3 Anubis measures & represents this precise attention of the divine guardian & psychopomp. with the sole purpose of rebalancing. or vital energy. on the other hand. quantification (analysis. the word "maat" ("mAat") is used for "truth" and "justice". By it.30B. the truth of the cosmic order of the world. concentration. In Middle Egyptian. form or representation of the balance : "Pay attention to the decision of truth and the plummet of the balance. their "practical method of truth" springs to the fore : serenity.cosmic order. at peace with itself. pl.

"standstill" or "statikè". the Heliopolitan priesthood was too well organized to be called "Shamanistic". clearly out of the ordinary. entering and leaving the Duat) and mysticism . Can one do otherwise but disagree with a most rewarding sources of inspiration and learning. radical experience of the Divine. which is more neutral and devoid of the historical connotations implied by historical Shamanism (the art & science of controlled trance). festivals. the "totaliter aliter"). inversion : when a concept is introduced. 2005). 2006). "art of weighing". The "logic" behind the operation of the balance involves four rules : 1." Hornung. although this does preclude shamanistic components in the sacred spells (compare this with the presence of trance oracles & dagger-liberations in Tibetan Buddhism today). Naydler. witnessing consciousness : the operation of measuring the whole balance is witnessed with precise and concentrated attention and recorded for further comparison and retuning. asymmetry : flow is the outcome of inequality (the feather-scale of the balance is a priori correct) . 1986. prayers. daughter of Zeus . unmeasurable. reciprocity : the two sides of everything interact and are interdependent (the beam of the balance) . who wrote about the Egyptians : ". the variety of ecstatic experiences may be classified as personal piety (offerings.. and refers to an extraordinary. and prefer "ecstatic". 2. In my opinion. The word "ecstatic" comes from the Greek "ex".cf. its opposite is also invoked (the two scale of the balance) .cf. Parapsychology. radical experience. In Ancient Egypt. Erik Hornung. 4. occultism (knowledge of the invisible worlds between heaven and Earth) and mysticism (direct. magic (psievents). Clearings. multiplicity-in-oneness : the possibilities between every pair are measured by one standard (the plummet) 5. comparative religions and mysticology allow us to distinguish between psi-events (parapsychology). J. "maati" as the Greek "dike"). : Shamanic Wisdom in the Pyramid Texts.. Although in immature instances of meta-nominal experience (i.e. the occult (initiation. any sort of ecstasy appears quite alien to their attitudes. mystery plays). "out" + "stasis". those falling outside empiricoformal consciousness .parts of creation (truth and justice are personified as the daughter of Re. equivalent with the Greek Themis. 3. I avoid adjectives as "shamanic" or "shamanistic" (cf. these phenomena cannot be distinguished.

121. who was the sole reference-point here. magical.proper. All areas of the temple complex may have been used in this magico-religious empowerment of the divine king. p. So the "djed medu" or the recitative use of these texts should not be surprising. and he alone uttered the Great Speech. The pyramid-complex may well have been the place of the royal cult.e. Thoth of Hermopolis or Amun of Thebes. by virtue of his divine nature. During life. in the invisible Duat as well as in the afterlife. Re of Heliopolis. meeting the deity "face to face" in their temples or transforming into one during life (as a living Osiris during the Sed festival). as supreme High Priest. But the royal cult was much more. the material image of the texts magically assist the process of the Pharaonic rite of passage. Much later. of course influenced by the prevailing dynastic theology. occult & funerary elements should be combined. transforming the king into a spirit efficient enough to bless his son with a "good Nile". i. The latter is found in the spirituality of the divine king and his high priests. had his own regeneration-ritual & burial ritual. Ptah of Memphis. one of the five local gods promoted to national deities : Osiris of Abydos. The overall Egyptian mentality seems to favour an enduring canon of broad schemes adaptable to immediate circumstances. it was a means to continuously regenerate the powers of the divine king to perform his office efficiently. or political statement. guarantee of the unity of Egypt. both during and after the king's life. The royal cult was both regenerative as mortuary. 1996. With the tomb as cosmos. the royal cult In order to understand the Pyramid Texts. the ecstatic. and the pharaoh. reflecting a variety of local (nomic) traditions at work around the divine king and soliciting his . each Temple being the home of the "supreme" god of each system. It will at once be clear that in this process the king is not regarded as an individual person but as the bearer of the royal office. ti was accompanied by great magic & divine protection. with king Akhenaten. He was the "Great House" or "Great Mansion" of the Old Kingdom (Memphis). we witness the return of this royal Solar cult. As each divine king had his own titulary. One must assume that the Maat at work in the ruler was thought to be of benefit to each individual Egyptian. receives it substantially like a sacrament." Morenz. "In each instance Maat is in concrete forms undoubtedly the divinelyestablished pattern of government. so he.

.).favours. was to provide Egypt with a new king and a "good Nile". the language of the texts In the ca. light. implied the end of its role as "interphase" with "the other side" of the false door.Ba leaving the tomb Papyrus of Ani . The liberated "Akh" has freedom of movement and time. Ba of Ani rejoining the mummy . It is bright. Through them. Of course. This reciprocal function of the tomb has to be emphasized. inventories. the additive.. The destruction of a tomb or a temple. some compositions were considered more sacred than others. conflicts and death. 1250 BCE . legacies. His burial provided him with a ladder between heaven and Earth. and so the first thing the glorified (spiritualized) king would do arriving in the sky (pet. testaments. transfers. heaven). His death was thus a major calamity. the spirits make their souls and doubles come down and unite with their statues. could guarantee. radiant and efficient. and could perturbate the agricultural cycle. While they stay in the sky.New Kingdom. 3000 BCE (the beginning of the Dynastic Period) and ca. The latter was the magical proof of the king being blessed by the spirit of his father . archaic quality of the literary style was pronounced and remains. 2348 BCE (the death of king Unas). the written language had considerably developed. and the texts carved in Unas' tomb were and/or became canonical. The Ba could return with its Ka.. endowments. The Egyptians existed by the grace of the "good Nile" the king alone. etc. 650 years between ca.ca. they were present to the priests. offices. But although words could be joined together in simple sentences and the latter in pragmatical groups (dealing with honors & gifts. leading to famine. being divine.

Hermopolitan. horizon. These texts are to a large extent a composition. four. for they suggest the political context of Egypt before its final unification (as Sethe pointed out). three. Older structures were mingled with new ones and many traces of earlier periods were left over.more like the Psalms than any other book of the Old Testament. seven or eight lines occur (the fourfold being the most popular). They are entirely anonymous and of uncertain date.The Pyramid Texts pose their own particular problems & difficulties. the overall framework of the composition is pre-rational (cf. "The Pyramid Texts were not the work of a single man or of a single age. royal. 1956. In the Old Egyptian of the Pyramid Texts. The blend itself is most interesting. ecstatic. Certain registers go back to the oral tradition of the Predynastic Period. Osirian. Subjectivity is still objectified. to Pet. Pre-operatoric activity is limited to the immediate material context. death. Didactic poetry (precepts) and lyrics in which personal emotions & experiences are highlighted are nearly absent.2. The language of these compositions. were used in this-life rituals (Naydler. grammatical. if not very difficult to understand. Various types of parallelism occur : synonymous (doubling or by repetition). magical. six. of purpose and of identity. resurrection (in the Duat or Netherworld) and ascension of the divine king (via Akhet. although the archeological record is limited. of contrast. 2005)." Mercer. Most. Others. Metrical schemes of two. five. funerary. antithetic. The tensions are not resolved but stratified. cognition and epistemology). and must have had initiatoric connotations. of analogy. conjecture these utterances were part of the ceremonies of the royal cult. symmetrical. etc. allowing for several registers to be identified : Predynastic. And they are religious literature which reflect more or less clearly the conditions of religious thought in ancient Egypt previous to the Seventh Dynasty . . But. funerary. combined. occult. of constraint. p. the composition between semantic groups is loose. especially those relating to the coronation. rebirth (Sed festival). founding fathers of Egyptology accepted Maspero's funerary interpretation. Heliopolitan. a compilation and joining of earlier texts which must have circulated orally or have been recorded on papyrus many centuries earlier. sky). enjoying a broader perspective. is often additive and offers little self-reflection (which starts with the literature of the First Intermediate Period). Although proto-rationality is most of the time lingering. in which these texts form a set of symbolical "heraldic" utterances (great speeches) dealing with the promotion of the welfare of the divine king in the afterlife. if not all. which has the style of the "records" of the Old Kingdom.

This is not the correct attitude. the differences between various translations may be disconcerting." To the latter. . though very liable to error in detail. we may not grasp his exact thought. anthropomorphisms and picturesque expressions and puns are also found.72-73. Egyptian writing is ambiguous qua grammatical form. nevertheless at the worst give a roughly adequate idea of what the ancient author intended . metathesis. pictoral. 2. Ancient Egyptian literature is a treasure-house of this ante-rational cognitive activity. The notion of "semantic circumscription" was derived from this quote by Gardiner : "If the uncertainty involved in such tenuous distinctions awake despondency in the minds of some students. and its "logic" is entirely contextual. Personally. which may be summarized as follows : 1. 1946. and with that achievement we must rest content. I would add the rule that one has to take into consideration all hieroglyphs (also the determinatives) and try to circumscribe the meaning by assessing the context in which words and sentences appears . pre-rational and proto-rational thought and its literary products.The play of words is the commonest literary feature. Some of its defects can not be overcome and so a "consensus omnium" among all sign-interpreters is unlikely. but at least we shall have circumscribed the area within which his meaning lay. artistic and practical. is prone to large discrepancies. depending on the consonantal roots. The meaning or conception of the sense of certain words. Indeed. pp. despite major grammatical discoveries. and consider that Egyptian scribes were careless and prone to mistakes. semantic circumscription (Gardiner) : to those unaware of the semantical problem in mythical. more attention to lexicography (a discussion of individual words) and the rule that at least one certain example of the sense of a word must be given were considered as crucial. 1946). Furthermore. especially in sophisticated literary context. indeed at times we may go seriously astray. metaphors. Zába prompted us to respect the original text and made it his principle. some egyptologists change the original text with great ease. He wrote : Gardiner. Not surprising a thorough understanding of these texts is lacking. the benefit of the doubt (Zába) : amendments should be introduced with great caution and for very good reasons. ellipses. Alliteration. to them I would reply that our translations. Translating Ancient Egyptian literature calls for special considerations. We all make mistakes. my italics. Gardiner spoke of "interpretative preferences" (Gardiner.

the coexistence of different correlation of problems and phenomena presents no difficulties. consulté d'autres textes et ne pouvant expliquer la difficulté autrement. plutôt. l'habitude.. à savoir de considérer a priori un texte égyptien comme correct et de m'en expliquer chaque difficulté tout d'abord par l'aveu de ne pas connaître la grammaire ou le vocabulaire égyptien aussi bien qu'un Egyptien..... integral acceptation (Zimmer) : in his study of Eastern religions and exegesis of Hindu thought."Pour ce qui est la traduction d'un texte égyptien dans une langue moderne. (.. (. whether encountered in paintaings or in texts.) This discussion of the multiplicity of approaches to a single cosmic god requires a complement . axiomatic (definitions & theorema) or linea recta. the German scholar Heinrich Zimmer introduced a principle which implies that before one studies a culture one has to accept that it exists or existed as it does and claims.qui consists à ramener ce qui n'est pas familier Zába." 3. that with the origin of the existing world to another. It is in the concrete imagery of the Egyptian texts and designs that they become disturbing to us . and not poverty but superabundance of imagination.." 4. which focus on subjects which were of no interest to it (like the colour of the hair of royal mummies) or which reduces it to what is already known.. (.) m'a amené au principe dont je me suis fait une règle. Their "method" being not linear.. l'étude de divers textes (.) Here then we find an abrupt juxtaposition of views which we should consider mutually exclusive. 1956. (. Each image. accepts the culture at hand without prejudices and projections. should not be dismissed in the usual derogatory manner.. mais en vain.3) explains himself : "La méthode ou. each concept was valid within its own context. We might call it a 'multiplicity of answers'. Frankfort (1961. que je suis enclin à croire que le texte est altéré.) And yet such quasiconflicting images.) et ce n'est donc qu'après avoir longement. One should approach and interprete its cultural forms as little as possible using standards which does not fit in.. there lies the main source of the inconsistencies which have baffled and exasperated modern students of Egyptian religion. pp. This is what I have called a multiplicity of approaches : the avenue of preoccupation with life and death leads to one imaginative conception.. Zimmer (1972. This means that one. They display a meaningful inconsistency. as does comparative cultural anthropology with its methodology of participant observation.11. we must consider the converse situation in which one single problem is correlated with several natural phenomena.16-20) explains : ". . p. p. multiple approaches (Frankfort) : one has to assimilate the Egyptian way of thinking before engaging in explaining anything.

Ce qu'elles exigent de nous ce n'est pas de monologue d'un officier de police judiciaire. nous ne recevons rien . mais bien des esprits possesseurs.e. mais le dialogue d'une conversation vivante. Spatial semantics was at work in large monumental constructions as well as in small stela or tiny juwelery and important tools (for Maat is at work in both the big and the small) . The Shabaka Stone. et un brusque saut de côté. egyptologists have not given this aspect of Egyptian "sacred geometry" the attention it deserve leaving the . indéfinissable et pourtant logique avec elle-même. comme le sol d'Egypte." 5. important hieroglyphs were given their architectonic. elles se jouent du spécialiste qui s'imagine les avoir épinglées sur son tableau synoptique. sur le plan de la destinée humaine. Elles ne sont pas des cadavres.à ce que l'on connaît bien. capables d'exercer une influence effective. Thanks to Piaget's description of the genesis of cognition.. but tried to invoke the magic of the "numen praesens". Besides Schwaller de Lubicz. monumental or ornamental equivalent. discussed earlier. toujours revouvelée. involving the use of artistic space (a contemporary equivalent is the Zen garden) as a additional element in the composition of meaning. the Ancient Egyptians left old strands of thought intact. Avec un rire soudain.. par les eaux divines et fécondantes du Nil. is only one (late) example of the principles of spatial organization which governed Egyptian from the start (besides honorific or graphic transpositions). to wit : the mythical. Furthermore. non-abstraction : egyptologists are aware that the cognitive abilities of the Ancient Egyptians were not the same as the Greeks. possédant le pouvoir de faire revivre. a de tout temps mené à la frustration intellectuelle. This allowed for slight imperfections. C'est parce qu'elles sont vivantes. Groupings always involved the use of imaginary squares or rectangles ensuring the proportioned arrangement... nous nous voyons refuser la faveur d'un entretien avec les dieux. with an amalgam of approaches placed next to each other without interference . que les images du folklore et du mythe défient toute tentative de systématisation. which each have their specific modus operandi. because of the multiplicity of approaches.. we can assess the Egyptian heritage with the standards of ante-rational thought.) Faute d'avoir adopté une attitude d'acceptation. Ce n'est point notre sort d'être submergés. (. language). the question before us is : in what mode or modes of thought was this written (which kind of text is this) ? Indeed. Unsightly gaps and disharmonious distributions were rejected. 6. pre-rational and proto-rational modes of thoughts. spatial semantics : Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic writing was more than a way to convey well-formed meaning (i. when we try to interprete a text. Hence. Symmetry-breaks bring the importance of an item to the fore.

but one has to acquire the habit of looking up the same word or expression in various contexts across time (lexicography). metaphorical inclination : Ancient Egyptians "spoke in images"..is an intuitive appreciation of the trend of the ancient writer's mind. Some hymns speak in images. The epithets of the deities too are full of visual elements. Faulkner & Allen) is the best option.. 7. is especially true for Egyptian. that all the hermeneutical rules-of-thumb in the world will not guarantee a "perfect" translation... but also with regard to their literary inclinations. etc. The contrary (leaving these images intact) works confusing when Egyptian literature is new.5). Not only has the text to be contextualized. Literary and metaphorical meaning overlap and interpenetrate (for example : "He who spits to heaven sees his spittle fall back on his face. those of Mercer. which simply does not exist. metaphors and other sophisticated literary devices. translators make a compromize between literal and analogical renderings. large scale comparison of all available translations (in this case. "Although we can approach its grammar in an orderly fashion (. This holds true in a linguistic sense (namely their use of pictograms).") . leaving room for explicative notes and comments. Some egyptologists tend to rewrite this to comfort the contemporary readers.. But even then. As with all texts of Antiquity.) we are often puzzled and even frustrated by the continual appearance of exceptions to the rules.. . "The only basis we have for preferring one rendering to another. Middle Egyptian can be especially difficult in this regard . As a function of their intention to try to really grasp the sense. p. When they saw the Sun rise and heared the baboons sing. poetical phrases. p. This harms the fluid nature of the texts and makes them dry and gray.horizon wide opened to wild stellar. historical & anthropological speculations . It goes without saying. I myself tend towards the analogical (which was closer to the Egyptian way of life). the Egyptian thought of the voracious crocodile who has no tongue and who has to grab his food with his teeth and swallow it in one piece. when once the exigencies of grammar and dictionary have been satisfied and these leave a large margin for divergencies. Piankoff. one should be content with Gardiner's view that to circumscribe sense is the best one can do. The Italian dictum "traduttore traditore" (the translator is a traitor). they associated this activity with praise and the glorification of light." Gardiner (1925." Allen (2001.389). When somebody grabbed his meat violently.

proto-rationality is suggested. makes it likely that under Pharaoh Djoser. but try to avoid a Predynastic figure. utilitarian and singular meaning. 1978. In the case of the Pyramid Texts. In the Pyramid Texts. the present English version of the Unas text The present English version of the Unas text makes use of the hieroglyphs to choose between alternative views on the text as proposed by Sethe. a more subtle problem is posed by the mentality of the Egyptians themselves. comparisons with the architectural language of the period. 100 years).which does not exclude the necessity of being 'simple'. We must not be entrapped by projecting on Ancient Egyptian literature our own rational approach. Hence. which is not supported for all the texts. Faulkner & Allen.Put aside the obvious difficulties encountered when trying to translate texts 4300 years old. pre-rational and proto-rational strands are at work. It pays homage to their magisterial translations and is indebted to them. In other parts (as in the ascension texts). Because these texts only exists on the WWW.55. The contemporary school of egyptological literalism equates the earliest temporal layer of any text with its historical date of composition. Especially in the case of an Opus of such scope as the pyramid texts of Unas. the "inventor of stone" and his vizier Imhotep. and amending his choices. they would agree to push the date of inception with a few centuries (the margin of error for this period being ca. Indeed. Hermetism and the Hermetic Keys). mistrusting the presence of literary antecedents." Schwaller de Lubicz. Egyptian civilization is ante-rational. For the goal of these Ancient Egyptian studies is not to translate Egyptian texts ab ovo. This means mythical. based on abstract cognitive activity initiated by the Greeks. Mercer. and presents his work as the ongoing result of constantly (re)studying direct (the hieroglyphs) & indirect sources (new translations). no concrete "closure" is realized. whereas in reality it is a synthesis which requires great erudition for its analysis and a special culture for the esoteric knowledge that it implies . the pre-rational mode of thought is mostly at hand. or knowing how to 'simply look' at the symbol. amendments can always made without cutting trees. "The ordinary consideration of the Egyptian symbol reduces it to a primary arbitrary. but to bring together a basket of texts allowing us to appreciate Ancient Egyptian wisdom teachings and clarifying the relationship with Greek philosophy (cf. the present author claims no authority over a "new" English translation of this monumental work. the "great seer" (or prophet) of Re at Iunu. "the Pillar". King Djoser. Piankoff. layed the foundations of the Old Kingdom "canon" ruling all aspects of the life of the . the Egyptians had the conceptual framework of the Pyramid Texts at their disposal. p.

As a ritual and magical anthology. finally. offering rituals. his arrival in heaven. occult & . Osirian. passage-way & corridor : Lunar Duat (sarcophagus room) and Solar Akhet (antechamber) are at work in four directions : West (Duat. etc. the ascension of King Unas. a regression into myth is a common strategy. sapience. Predynastic. and in the afterlife (to ascend to Re) . a living Osiris (rejuvenated by the Sed festival) and. cognitive limitations : to back the unstable concepts of pre-rationality. litanies. To project the beginning of the IIIth Dynasty (ca. both during his life on Earth (namely through Lunar regeneration). false door. hymns. 2670 BCE) as the date of inception of most (not all !) of these texts is altogether a reasonable guess. settling in heaven. Careful study of the images and the actual hieroglyphs used is often rewarding but seldom conclusive .elite. nor the pyramid complex. hermeneutical typology : the Unas text contain short pieces of drama. composition : the texts form a literary unity insofar as they represent a careful and conscious selection out of the available body of ritual utterances (cf. eating the deities. Here is Sethe's standard edition of the Pyramid Texts (1910) and Mercer's translation (1952). South (cyclic stars. ecstatic. magical. some connotations may seem pointless to a contemporary reader. although an overall story-line is discernable . the sky of Re). contextuality and multiple approaches. protective charms and divine offerings. glorifications. art & religion. Hermopolitan. As a lot of these myths are meaningless today. They invoke the regeneration of Osiris King Unas. There is matter of choice guided by spatial semantic. a god one with Atum . the inundation) & East (Eastern Horizon. a "power of powers" and "image of images". magical texts. including writing. royal. spatial semantics : there is a spatial symbolism at work in the actual placement of the texts in the chambers. North (Imperishables. They are not narrative and do not represent the actual funerary ritual. dusk). a divine ancestor. both as a living Horus (a reigning monarch). rise of Re). funerary. Summarizing :      aim of the texts : to assist the divine king in his royal cult. The composition is not available as a linear narrative. sarcophagus. they bring together all what is needed to bring about for the divine king his regeneration (in the Lunar Duat) and ascension (via the Solar Akhet) to the stellar Imperishables. as are conservatism. Heliopolitan. The texts circumambulate the theme of the king's glorious being. prayers. those found in the tomb of his successors plus very likely others).

as we can see in the First Dynasty Abydos burials. In the Old Kingdom. importance. lasting for more than three millenia. A patrilineal system is invented. given by Isis thanks to Re and Thoth. restoration. resurrected and resuscitated. The divine dead bone is there to transmute. The restoration of the body of Osiris and his "resurrection" in the noble. Whether Osirian faith was already popular in the Early Dynastic remains disputed. wandering. a kingdom of his own. Re had given to Osiris a separate jurisdication. The divine king is nurtured by the milk of the goddesses and in all major dynastic turns. With it. if not decisive. spiritualized. beautified and stellar body ("sAH"). in the more popular strands of the Egyptian cultural form. the shamanistic beliefs of old are maintained but refined. making its unity and integration (in one tomb) even more remarkable . is completed when Osiris receives the Eye of Wellness (the Left Eye) from Horus.  date of inception : the beginning of the IIIth Dynasty (ca. the Lunar. Dynastic Egypt remembered the mythical family of (Lunar) Osiris. no balanced equation is possible. receiving a jurisdiction of his own. and so he was feared by humans & gods alike. The role of Osiris in the Unas text. resurrection and rejuvenation. Osiris then becomes the "king of the Duat" and. the Lunar Eye of Re. the king affirms the divine status of his "Ba" by partly assimilating the Lunar deities of old (Hassan. Its state approved mythology was largely based on the Solar and stellar considerations. with Memphis as royal residence and focus of culture. contextualized. dismemberment. 1992). the role of women was of extreme. 6. But this remains largely speculative. flood) as communal (just ruler). although a Predynastic origin of Osirian faith concurs with the fertility cults of the Neolithic (the "Bull of his Mother" pointing to his role as consort of the great Neolithic fertility goddess). The royal nation state is given an administrative body. 2670 BCE). . matriarchal line of transmission (of which the original root is Upper Palaeolithic) was never relinquished.funerary registers can be isolated. his wife Isis and their son Horus. including in their musings his assassination. The "djed" may point to a crucial link between history and Prehistory : this backbone of Osiris serves as a mortuary amulet of stability and everlastingness. But. The mystery of his becoming the "king of the Duat" completed the picture. People identified and played the dramatic episodes of their lives. It is a necessary aid in the transformation of the human body into the spiritual body of glory assumed by the dead in the afterlife. Restored. Without the female side of Nature. both agrarian (grain.

As the "Bull of his mother". A central element of the later Osiris myth. the probable antiquity of many of these texts makes it not unlikely that he was recognized at an earlier period. Khentiamentiu. but by the self-possessed and unalienated power of the great goddess and her dark secrets of resurrection. Already in the Neolithic. the region where the Sun set. The majority of cemeteries were situated to the West of the Nile.4000 BCE). Osiris was the mythological form of the dead ruler forever succeeded by his son Horus. Heliopolitan theology associated him with Osiris. and that in the only manner in which the Egyptians could conceive such a bond . The Solar horizon had been assimilated. those sustaining the mythical kingdom of plenty of Atum-Re. We have to wait until the First Intermediate Period before Abydos becomes a cult centre explicitly dedicated to Osiris. was depicted as a jackal. p. Dating to the Late Predynastic Period. Osiris. His . seals of Kings Den and Qaa). On the first day of Shomu. empowered not by patrilineal logic." Wilkinson. and all payed homage to the symbol. Seth and Nephthys are the differentials or natural types covering the ideal state of affairs for human beings. is attested from the middle of the First Dynasty. 5000 . rejuvenation and rebirth (associated with the Duat rather than the sky). he represented the myth of the "perfect king".through kingship. Deceased Badarians faced West (ca. perhaps under the name Khentiamentiu.." Frankfort. Isis. the season of harvesting. who also bore the epithet "the Foremost of the Westeners".The "djed" Pillar Festival was held annually. Oxen were driven around the walls of Memphis . People conducted mock battles between good and evil. unique creator of it all. 1999. the sole.292. In the Heliopolitan account. the pairing of Horus and Seth.182. Osiris belonged to the last generation of deities. the West was the principal mortuary direction. "the Foremost of the Westeners". the priests raised up the "djed" Pillar. 1978. Osirian faith appealed to the common majority. the god of the Abydos necropolis. He also navigated Re's nightly voyage in the Duat.. It was a time of enthusiasm and rejuvenation for the people. p. "Although the god Osiris is not attested by name until the Fifth Dynasty Pyramid Texts. The steady rise of kingship and piecemeal centralizations followed. They establish a bridge between nature and man. "The four children of Geb and Nut are not involved in this description of the universe. His cult was popular in the First Dynasty (cf.

assassination by Seth evokes the discontinuum of moral evil ("isefet"), rooted in a natural divine will to harm, hurt and cause suffering for the sake of dominion, love of power and the persistent gratification of perverse desires (cf. the Isis & Horus cycles of the Delta). It underlines the power of evil and destruction, and invokes the fragility of life and order, in all directions under seige by evil, annihilation, death and chaos. The tragedy of evil's power does not lead to pessimism, for in Egyptian thought, the soul of chaos is the author of light, life and order. If chaos itself is to be avoided, not so its efficient, auto-generative potential. The latter regenerates the deities and sustains creation. This distinction drawn a line between the blind lust to destroy (as in "Apophis", the giant snake of destruction) and the divine will to harm (or "Seth", who controls the snake). "But it will be discerned at once that the Osiris myth expressed those hopes and aspirations and ideals which were closest to the life and the affections of this great people. (...) In the Osiris myth the institution of the family found its earliest and most exalted expression in religion, a glorified reflection of earthly ties among the gods."
Breasted, 1972, p.37.

Paradoxically perhaps, a pyramid tomb is not an expression of Osirian faith as profound as the "Heb Sed" or "Sed festival", in which the divine king assumed the costume and insignia of Osiris, enjoying the same resuscitation by Isis and Horus. This does not (as Egyptian thought teaches) exclude Osirian components, connotations or assimilations (such as a subterranean chamber). But the Pyramid Age was of Heliopolitan inspiration. Pharaoh finally adheres to his own divinity ("son of Re") and evidences his authority on a gigantic scale. In the Pyramid Texts, Osiris is present but at times avoided. King Unas passes-by Osiris (and is, as the latter, resurrected in the Duat as "this Osiris King Unas"), but does not stay in the Duat. As a bird or as incense, he flies away to be transformed into a stellar spirit, joining his father Re in the sky. A strange division is, at times, maintained between Osiris in the Duat and Re in the sky. In the pre-rational mode of cognition, such conceptual tensions are left unresolved. Nothwithstanding royal this-life rituals, a pyramid complex was, after the king had died, the tomb of a divine king of Egypt, and so the focus of a temple complex, with a dedicated priesthood and regular priests, daily maintaining the Ka of the deceased king to gratify its Ba or soul and clearing a safe passage to and fro the tomb. As such, a royal mortuary temple was an spirito-economic motor, employing people and redistributing goods for the sake of a spiritual economy of transformation of material offerings into "food" for the Ka of the king, who would bless Egypt. A funerary complex was also a "false door" or "gate" allowing the enlightened spirit of the

deceased (justified to realize the station of the Akh-spirits) to return as Ba and/or Ka. This divine presence of the spirit in its tomb on Earth, is always indirect (never absolute). It happens through the intermediate states of consciousness, such as the Ba and Ka of the divine son of Re. The pyramid ensured Maat, the turning of days and seasons, as well as a "good Nile". How ? It allowed the deceased king to "transform" ("kheperu") into an "Akh", a glorified spirit-being of light, effective and equipped in the afterlife. The pyramid was his way to ascend. Arrived in heaven as an Akh, the king allowed his divine incarnation to pass to his son (from Osiris to Horus) and the pyramid "is better understood as the meeting point of life and light with death and darkness" (Lehner, 2001, p. 20). After mummification, it became a "cosmic exchange engine" set in motion by the appropriate funerary rituals, bringing the glorified body ("sah") into being (cf. the ritual of "Opening the Mouth"). As an Akh-spirit, the deceased king could then choose to bring down his souls and doubles on Earth. If so, he would use his tomb and mummy as a point of entry into the physical plane of existence. In this way, the presence of the ancestor could continue to influence the living, in particular the new Horus-king. The names given to the pyramids or associated with them, reflect the crucial spirito-economical role of royal tombs : "horizon", "radiant place", "endures", "flourish", "established", "pure", "divine", "perfect" etc. Indeed, the focus of any tomb, including the king's, was the "false door" and adjacent "offering place". This imaginal gate was the point of departure to or return from the Netherworld. The success of this bi-directionality of the justified, blessed deceased in the afterlife (from the tomb to the sky and back) depended on the funerary rituals, as well as on the offerings placed in the tomb. During their daily rituals, the priests (endowed by the son) fed the Ka of his father and placed the sacrifices near the "false door". In this way, the "lowest" point of the transformational chain would be kept active. The subtle energy (or "Ka") of the offerings gratifies the Ba and attracts the attention of the Akh, who returns in the tomb in its "sah", completing the cycle by uniting with the mummy. This ideal of Egyptian religious life was only attained by the deities and the justified dead. Pharaoh ascended, while common men hid ... Can may be argued that, in order to operate properly, every state needs to stay in touch with its people. So the Heliopolitan, Solar Atum-Re assimilated (before the Vth Dynasty) a human generation of deities, namely Osiris, Isis, Seth and Nephthys, entangled in a Lunar family drama ? Already present since ever, they would then become the great-grand children of Atum-Re, and represent the human side of the "Golden Age" of Egypt, the epoch when the gods reigned on Earth, a time when the eternal equilibrium of the First

Time had not yet been broken by Seth. This was the time of Osiris, the Lunar deity of vegetation, reigning over the whole of Egypt, making her living, healthy and prosperous, bringing bread & wine. By doing so, the theologians of Atum-Re assimilated the popular (Predynastic) Lunar cult, and made it part of the royal ritual, especially in terms of the physical regeneration & resurrection of the divine king (during and after life), whereas the latter's ascension remained Solar and spiritualizing. "While there is some effort here to correlate the functions of Re and Osiris, it can hardly be called an attempt at harmonization of conflicting doctrines. This is practically unknown in the Pyramid Texts. (...) But the fact that both Re and Osiris appear as supreme king of the hereafter cannot be reconciled, and such mutually irreconcilable beliefs caused the Egyptian no more discomfort than was felt by any early civilization in the maintenance of a group of religious teachings side by side with others involving varying and totally inconsistent suppositions. Even Christianity itself has not escaped this experience."
Breasted, 1972, pp.163-164.

Although historical traces of Osirian faith predating the Pyramid Texts are sparse, popular Osirian beliefs must have, during the previous Dynasties, slowly infiltrated the Solar state religion. Had Predynastic religion identified Osiris with the fertile waters of the inundation, with soil and vegetation (cf. Orion and the Dog-Star in the South, the direction of the inundation) ? The ever-waning and ever-reviving life of Egypt's soil through the Nile was entrenched by the story of the murder & resurrection of Osiris and the triumph of his son Horus over Seth, the evil uncle. As a result, and despite its popular origin, Osirian faith entered into the most intimate relationship with the ideology of divine kingship, causing a fundamental tension no prerational structure could resolve. When, in the "classical" Middle Kingdom (XIIth Dynasty), proto-rationality blossomed, and Osiris, as netherworldly god of the dead, was increasingly seen as the nocturnal aspect of Re (cf. the New Kingdom Solar theology, the Amduat). So, although the religion of state was Solar and focused on the divine king, the Pyramid Texts evidence an ambiguous relationship with Osiris, the god of the common people and popular beliefs. The Predynastic Osiris cult, probably local to the Delta, involved a forbidding, stern & repellent hereafter. Osiris was a Nile-god and a spirit of vegetable life, a harvest-god. But, as a king of Egypt, he had been killed by his brother Seth, recovered and restored by his wife Isis (with the help of the secret name of Re) and resurrected by his son Horus, who avenged his father by overcoming Seth in a battle presided by Thoth. When Osiris migrated up the Nile from the Delta, he was identified with the old mortuary jackal-god of the South, "the First of

According to Breasted. the Pyramid Texts evidence survivals from a period when Osiris was even hostile to the Solar dead. a millennium later. which made a strong appeal to the individual believer. Eventually." Breasted.NOCTURNAL the perpetuity of darkness ." Pyramid Texts. (. There are exorcisms intended to retain Osiris to enter the Solar tomb with evil intent.DIURNAL the eternal cycle of dawn/dusk/dawn the seasonal cycle of the Two Lands Re-Atum hidden in Nun the diffused. He became the king of the dead below the Earth. Osiris is reassembled by Isis & healed by the Eye of Horus ... where it merged into the Netherworld. SOLAR RE . monthly cycle of agriculture Osiris is created by Re-Atum Osiris is left behind in the Duat mostly passive himself. Heliopolitan Solar theology got slowly Osirianized. pp. As in the New Kingdom Amduat. in the Solar faith we have a state theology. while in that of Osiris we are confronted by a religion of the people. Assiut). However. Indeed.. "May Osiris not come with his evil coming.. one powerful enough to alert the gods. these tensions would be resolved in the Middle Kingdom. efficient principle of Nun Bi-sexual Atum is self-created within Nun simultaneously s/he generates the LUNAR OSIRIS . utterance 534. 1972. with all the splendor and the prestige of its royal patrons behind it . the popularity of Osiris among the common people forced the theologians to incorporate him into their Solar creed. In this way. he enjoys a juridiction of his own. which in turn gave rise to the New Kingdom books of the Netherworld..the Nun the local. Do not open your arms to him . § 1267.) In the mergence of these two faiths we discern for the first time in history the age-old struggle between the state form of religion and the popular faith of the masses.the Westeners" (Abydos. monarch of a subterranean kingdom. the Duat. ". the "Lord of the Duat".. His kingdom was conceived as situated below the western horizon. nothing in these primordial myths proved Osiris to have a celestial afterlife.140-141.

we find the king ascending to the sky and then descending among the dwellers in the Duat (PT. The Osirian hereafter was celestialized. the place of the dead. The dead king and the dying Sun corresponded well. in the vincinity of the horizon. as did the resurrection of Osiris (as king of the dead) and the dawning of the Sun (as the child Harpocrates. Osiris was now called "Lord of the Sky" (PT. Atum belongs to pre-creation Atum is the sole Lord of Creation Atum is the spirit of matter or the awareness of consciousness (of itself) Atum refers to eternity-ineverlastingness the recurrent hatching within Nun & the indestructible. who is the father of the king of the living). the prima materia "djedet" the Ba. An important link between Re and Osiris was the former's death every day in the West. 966a) and the king was announced to Osiris in the sky precisely in the same way as he had been announced to Re in the Solar theology. implying that the Duat became (via the North) somehow accessible from the sky. the backbone of being. . the Duat became the lower region of the sky. In the Osirian cult. §§ 964. the Lord of Eternity Atum thrones the Akh-sphere Osiris thrones the Duat Osiris is bound to creation & the Duat Osiris receives a separate jurisdiction Osiris is the matter of spirit or the substrate of consciousness : energy. primordial nature of light "neheh" the Akh Antechamber Re chamber Osiris refers to everlastingness and the endurance of absolute sameness. the Ka Burial-chamber Osiris room The resurrection of Osiris by Horus and the restoration of his body was affirmed to be the king's privilege. below which it is also extended (Breasted). § 1164).Ennead he. Hence.

we have just shown he also tinctures the Solar teaching of the celestial kingdom of the dead with Osirian doctrines. p. situated as the Unique. "mustès" = "initiate"). Piankoff." (Allen.55). Faulkner. the letters to the dead) are examples. 2001. The active continuity between life and death found in Egypt. the Greeks. and this is one of the most convincing evidences of the power of Osiris among the lower classes. Egyptologists like Morenz. then. that the celestial doctrines of the hereafter dominate the Pyramid Texts throughout. As such.e. Frankfort. induced the point of death (assumed the "death posture") in order to glimpse into Darkness and "see" the divine to be renewed. But they had no "science of the Hades" as in the Amduat. contradicts the closed and separated interpretation of the Greeks. as it were. Among the people Re is later. 1972. secret . as the two faiths interpenetrated.the regenerative phase through which he passes before 'rising in the eastern side of sky like the Sun' (Pyr. In the royal and state temple theology. introduce into a new life) and the mysteries (from the Greek "muoo". 7. Hornung or Allen have good reasons to stress the difference between the Greek and the Pharaonic perspective on initiation (from the Latin "initio". Atum-Re. they existed on a scale far removed from that of ordinary human beings.14) of (1) the divine king and through him the whole of creation. The Egyptians maintained a series of rituals aimed at "a constantly renewed regeneration" (Hornung. and while he is there Solarized. fostering "escapism" (the "body" as a "prison" . Egyptian versus Greek initiation. like the Egyptians. pp. of which funerary rituals and the interaction between the living and their dead (cf. 1989. to close lips or eyes. Self-Begotten Great One at the core of a henotheist constellation of deities. 1465d-e)." (Allen. and of (2) their supreme deity. the elements and forces of nature. Osiris is lifted to the sky. The result was thus inevitable confusion. dragged into the Nether World to illumine there the subjects of Osiris in his mortuary kingdom."The fact remains. i. p. 2000. hidden. Assmann. or "cosmic beings. p." Breasted. The Pyramid Texts evidence the emergence of a composite doctrine. and the later subterranean kingdom of Osiris and Re's voyage through it are still entirely in the background in these royal mortuary teachings. But what used to be viewed as a separate "Osirian" destiny of the king "has more recently been recognized as one aspect of his celestial cycle . At best.1). Mercer.159-160.

'secret rites' and then subsequently as the tomb of the king. Potentially.ruled by the "third". Although the Platonic philosopher "preparing for death and dying" is like the initiate of the Eleusinian mysteries (cf. death is "more" life. So. Coming out into the Day. as did the Egyptian initiate and the Shaman of old. but are imaginal constructions and wishful thinking about the afterlife. no "new" life was necessary. found in the religious text and on the monuments of Egypt. Phaedrus and Phaedo). "As we have already seen. the Ars Obscura of the Hidden Chamber). etc. the divine son). Amduat. gratifying the Ba. or "nswt". Coffin Texts. the divine father) was the gate to a resurrection for the benefit of the living (Horus. the initiatic. This position is rejected. the Greek knows that he will never find wisdom in all its purity in any other place than in the next world. this-life experiences of the king. the king and his high priests encountered the deity "face to face" every day. There was no question of initiation being linked with the separation caused by physical death. By the exclusive funerary interpretation given to the religious literature of Ancient Egypt (Pyramid Texts. do not reflect direct spiritual experiences. In Egypt. Physical death (of Osiris. the Great Hymn to the Aten). Book of the Heavenly Cow. the divine king. it is perfectly feasible for the same pyramid to have been use both for the Sed festival. Book of Gates. This assumption of the death posture is a universal characteristic of the spiritual process of emancipation of Homo Sapiens sapiens (cf. the "tertium comparationis"). His energy had no limitations and with it he sustained creation by offering the right order of nature (cf.) these great scholars evidence Hellenocentrist prejudice." . and so may come to the point of death to see into the invisible (spiritual) worlds. either directly to the deities through the divine king or indirectly to the Ka of the deceased. divorced from the plane of Earthly life). If dualism fits Greek religion. triadism rules Egyptian theologies (while duality takes on the dual "form" or "land". the "Hades" as a place of shades. according to these authors. But the living king (Horus) could also ritually assume death (as "Osiris King N") to resurrect (himself and Egypt) while his physical body had not died (as in his Heb Sed festival). the dogma being : Ancient Egyptian religion is funerary & mortuary.out of which one needs to escape. For both life and the afterlife depend on identical conditions : offerings . In Egypt. of his priests and of his worshippers. It is not because a text is found in a tomb that it is necessarily funerary. in the Duat and in the sky. sustaining the Hellenistic approach of contemporary Egyptology regarding religious experience in Ancient Egypt. He was a god on Earth.

the cosmic : the emergence. political identity . has to be addressed : is there a mystical dimension or direct experiential contact with the divine beyond the first three studied by Egyptology (Assmann." Amduat. the validity of an exclusive funerary interpretation of the Pyramid Texts (or for that matter of the complete corpus of religious texts. political residence of the deities. the New Kingdom Amduat and Book of Gates bring "the future into the present".Naydler. He will stand among the Lord of Provision as one justified by the Council of Re who reckons the differences. the world of magic and of the dead. the Egyptian mysteries revolved around the concept of "voluntary death". 2. experienced before the actual physical death of the body.109. or "what is said about the gods". p.. most likely through festivals. These texts point to a this-life magical knowledge (assisting the mystical .. Osirian faith allowed non-royals to have direct spiritual access to the Duat." Amduat. concluding text of the Second Hour. It will be useful for him upon Earth . In these latter contexts. pilgrimage & personal piety. his priests and worshippers ? For Moret (1922). And this. their cultural memory as set down in myths. He who knows their names while being upon Earth will know their seats in the West as a contented one with his seat in the Netherworld. the mythic : the sacred tradition. structure & dynamics of the sphere of their action . either as belonging to a particular place and/or as state deities functioning as symbols of the collective. so that rebirth "could have been genuinely experienced in this life now". This is executed with their names similar to the image which is drawn in the East of the Hidden Chamber of the Netherworld. popular in Egyptology the last 50 years. For Wente (1982). names.. genealogies etc. the mystic : the direct experience of the deities or the objective spiritual realities encountered by the divine king. introductory text of the Ninth Hour. This "dead posture" preludes spiritual rebirth or "peret-em-heru" : going out into the day . 2005. It is very very useful for a man upon Earth. 4.. "He who know these words will approach those who dwell in the Netherworld. "The mysterious Cavern of the West where the Great God and his crew rest in the Netherworld. 2002) ? To wit : 1. The Books of the Netherworld are usually very explicit about this. 3. Indeed. the cultic : the local.

Wente. This could lead to the possibility of a new Egyptian-inspired Renaissance. reveal. 2005. the first thing to do is to lift the funerary restrictions put on the available corpora. And once we acknowledge the presence of a mystical dimension. in which Western spiritual culture is given fresh vigor by its reconnecting to its Egyptian roots.. 1982). What is revealed should never be said. indicative of words . rejuvenation and rebirth both in this life and in the afterlife. While it would make little sense to try to resurrect the religion of ancient Egypt today.  secretive : to initiate." Naydler. This task is to open ourselves once more to those realms of spirit that we are presented with in the mystical literature of Egypt. He also returned. albeit in ante-rational terms. a return to the "first time" of the "Golden Age"). the verb "bs" ("bes") has two nuances : inductive and secretive :  inductive : to introduce. Egyptian initiations.329. install . they move beyond funerary concerns (cf. bring in. It is a secret. The Egyptians understood the revitalizing logic of plunging into the darkest night of the spirit-world and particularly focused on regeneration. but with one more determinative added (that of a papyrus scroll. Of course. unlike the Greek. In Egyptian. Duat) and ecstatic (cf. Although found in tombs.quest for union with godhead. The initiate entered the invisible Duat at will and was free as a bird to stride and experience. This happened by an "embrace" of objective spiritual principles projected upon recurrent natural cycles (like Horus and Osiris in the myth of Osiris. quite on the contrary. the spiritual impulse that issues from ancient Egypt into contemporary culture may nevertheless encourage us to persue paths of inner development appropriate to our own period in history . we beg the question of how to operate the magic ? Is there a particular series of rituals enabling one to experience the objective spiritual realities behind three thousand years of spirituality today ? "And so the study of ancient Egyptian religion may lead us to conceive of a task that we have to fulfill in the present day. or the Ba of Re and the body of Osiris in the Books of the Netherworld). p. but also put into evidence an experiential register. completing the standard cycle of human spirituality en vogue since the Cro-Magnon. were not meant to release the applicant from the solid chains of the world and its destiny. Akhet) mindsets.. or "bs" again. and in initiatic (cf.

The initiate had gone and come back. and end the cycle of metempsychosis. but rather experimental speculations with . and was prepared for the afterlife. Only they were allowed to enter the sanctuary of the temple and perform rituals there (the offering hall." "Shtahu". "I am a priest knowledgable of the mystery. ". also meaning : "secretive. who's chest never lets go what he has seen !" Chassinat. the ambulatory. Only one member of this higher priesthood saw the deity "face to face". the afterlife was depicted as a realm of shadows and any hope of individual survival was deemed ephemeral.. In Greek. Osiris would not be able to lay his hands on him as he escaped the Lunar world and entered the Solar. They would erase the cause of the heaviness of the soul and its attachment to Earth. and would escort Re in the sky. had been regenerated and transformed on Earth as he would be in the afterlife. Both perspectives (a negative view on matter and reincarnation) are absent in the Egyptian mindset.11-12. except the deities and the lucky few elected. 1966. triggering a secret experience. what appears in the fifth century is not a complete and consistent doctrine of metempsychosis. in epithets of divine beings. He had faced judgment. but able to recreate the world in a whim ! Escape from this fated comedy was offered through the Greek mysteries dedicated to certain Deities. With the verb "bes". But in the Greek mysteries. unforgiving of man's tragi-comical sins. Nobody escaped destiny. mystical. he or she had received more life-power (balancing the natural depletion).. refers to the mysterious secrets themselves. The latter "escaped" from the world and its sordid entropic fate. the divine "son of Re" and the "Lord of the Two Lands". This high priest was the representative of the king. mysterious. inexplicable. Transformed. Middle Egyptian points to the Egyptian initiate as someone who had seen the hidden image of the deity "face to face". enthroned in its naos at the back end of the inner sanctum. The "secret of secrets" was the secret image of the deity or "bsw" ("besu"). the successive return of the soul in other physical bodies. pp. misery and possible "eschaton" : a world-fire invoked by these wrathful deities themselves. he was ready for his ascension. Clearly then. mysticism") also means "hidden". hidden. the "initiates" were foremost the divine king and those Egyptian priests who belonged to the higher priesthood. the inner sanctum).related to writing and thinking). and had become thus more complete. hidden away. Another word for "secret" is "StA" ("Shtah"). the word "mustikos" (root of "mystic. After death.

it is morally blameless conduct that guarantees the better lot or else the bare fact of ritual initiation that frees from guilt. matter was perceived as "gross" and more in tune with the world of becoming. Osiris was the prototype of this Lunar quest. sheer chance decides on the reincarnation. Thanks to a "general rehearsal" of what would happen.contradictory principles of ritual and morality. formal distinction between the conditions of becoming and those of being. trance-like state (compare this with what happens in the Hermetic Poimandres or in Classical Yoga). In general. except for the doubles (Kas) and the souls (Bas). Plato and Aristotle). Deities or demons were invoked to erase a preassigned fate or to control destiny. in order to be transformed and "see" the deity directly." Burkert. the laws of life (the deities) were operational in the afterlife as well as on Earth. Indeed. between potentiality and actuality (cf. p.300. Egyptian initiation was not redemptoric (elimination of guilt). albeit on another plane of existence (cf. more profound. The Greek spiritual experience was rational (decontextual). never leaves his physical body behind in a passive. and the spirits of the deceased existed together with the living. The efficient adept escorted Re in the sky. A marked contrast with the Greek mentality ensues : the Greeks had assimilated a rational. As a temple ritualist. ideas and their contemplation were deemed of a "higher" order. the adept would have no surprises in the afterlife. alone and without intermediaries. my italics. The Greek initiate. mysterious layer of reality and contacts this plane directly. Late Hellenism was flooded by astral fatalism and Oriental mysteries adapted to Greco-Roman standards and tastes. Rituals make his body fully participate in this inner experience. nor invite its adepts to leave the material plane without ever returning. hylemorphism). a great fear had taken hold. His initiatoric this-life rituals intended to prepare him for what was bound to happen in the afterlife. or else it runs forever in a circle through all spheres of the cosmos . which meant done for their own sake (decontextualized). The Egyptian initiate was "deified" by nature. did not intend to break away from the (inexistent) cycle of reincarnation. or else a judgement of the dead . 1985. the Egyptian initiate. Concepts. The Egyptian adept did not enter the sanctuary with a confused idea about death. All other initiates remain in the Lunar Duat and find their use in the dark kingdom of Osiris. a God or Goddess. Fully awake. was deemed "liberated" from nature. Linear order was the standard of Greek conceptual . But with the end of the Polis States. he enters into a deeper. and a groping for natural laws : the soul comes from the gods and after repeated trials returns to them.

There are no ghostly terrors. 1985. p. this Greek prejudice was made dogma by all three "religions of the book").rationality and the afterlife was envisaged as a gloomy land of no return. Finally. "And when. by drawing on repressed or non-Greek traditions. which had many branches. Only in its death was true liberation found (later. But. in the Greek mysteries. The regular movements of the planets followed precise geometrical conditions. etc. In the Egyptian way of life. the Greek mysteries anticipate a rupture between the living and the dead.' In the dreary monotony everything becomes a matter of indifference. astrology was used to divinate destiny and fate ("heimarmene" and "ananke"). Hence." Burkert. this was for a long time more a complement than a dangerous rival to the Greek system. than ruler over all the perished dead. alien to the living. while priests were consecrated in (local) induction rituals (leaving the "ultimate" experience to . theurgy came into being. my italics. the shades are without force and without consciousness. 1985.). and no clatterings of dead bones . saying : 'Do not try to make light of death to me . depreciative terms (cf. because of the difficulties involved with magic and initiation. The dead Archilles brushes aside Odysseus' words of praise. Let this difference stand out : the Egyptian mysteries anticipate a continuation of communication between the diurnal and nocturnal sides of creation. a man without lot and without much to live on. most men are meaningless shades in the Hades ("hidden" as Pluto). I would sooner be bound to the soil in the hire of another man. These were suggestive of the "perfect forms" of the world of ideas (or those perceived by the "active intellect"). evil as "privatio boni" in Neoplatonism and Roman Catholicism on original sin and the cause of evil). Again the material world appeared in negative. no imaginings of decomposition.197. mysteries began to feed on the hopes of individuals with universal speculation and sought to overcome the chilling isolation of man in death. A decisive release from the forces of fate & mortality was invisaged by working directly with the Deities. Hence. In Gnosticism. p. but equally there is no comfort and no hope. etc.203. Magic was addressed as a means to overcome one's preassigned fate. wiping out unluck. In the Egyptian conception. In Greek thought. antinomies. a "special knowledge" was aimed at. dualities easily become oppositions (contradictions. "The living are not at the mercy of the dead . dualities always remain complementary. the Discourse of a Man with his Ba)." Burkert. commoners sought a happy life to satisfy their souls (cf. The body was negative and had to be made passive in order for it to "see" the Divine light.

108 .79 . 207. Busiris and Karnak ? Such ritual activity would prepare them for the afterlife and transform them into "initiates" on Earth (adepts "justified" while alive) ? "Follow the god as far as his place. In Greek. But Egyptian and Greek initiations had this in common : both involved a confrontation with a symbolical death. 200 & 244 .260) l IX (260 . 25. "teleirtan" (to die) and "teleisthai" (to be initiated) are alike. The mysterious initiation of the Lord of Abydos !" Griffith.171) l III (213 .276) l XII (277 . 25.219) l IV (219 . 238.246) l VII (247 . like those of Abydos. held in major temples of Egypt. Anubis sanctifies the hidden mystery of Osiris.205. in his tomb which is found at the entrance of the cavern.321) Unas text in English .116 / 117 . ca.96.224) l V (204 . lines 238-239. 209. Is it possible that the higher priesthood also participated in the Osirian mysteries of death and resurrection.243) l II (23. 32.XIIth Dynasty.272) l X (302 . 210 .the high priest). tombe I.57 / 72 . followed by a new state of being alife. 81 .312) l XI (273 .301) l XIII (313 317 & 318 . 199.212) l VI (23. (in) the sacred valley of the Lord of Life.253) l VIII (254 . that is to be initiated" Plato CENTRAL PLAN OF THE TOMB OF KING UNAS The Unas Text is divided in thirteen sections : I (226 . 32 . "to die.

"<" from right to left or ">" from left to right "<" or ">" between numbers = sequence of the text .

"<" or ">" underneath / above numbers = direction of the signs "<" (face left) or ">" (face right) underneath / above numbers = direction of the signs .