Make your own free website on Tripod.com

     

 

 

BOOKS FOR THE BEYOND

 1. Pyramid Texts
Although found on the Royal Pyramids of dynasties V and VI, these texts date from an earlier date in ancient Egyptian religion.

Like most other texts (Coffin Texts, Book of the Dead), the Pyramid Texts are used to guarantee the dead King a place in the Beyond.

Click HERE to read the Pyramid Texts found in Pepi I's pyramid


 2. Coffin Texts
A set of magic spells which were inscribed on the coffins of commoners during the Middle Kingdom. These texts were intended to guide the deceased through to the Beyond.

These texts provide information about Ancient Egyptian afterlife during a period which no Royal Funerary texts survive.

 3. Book of Caverns (19th Dynasty)
This was written specifically to deal with the journey of the sun god through the Netherworld. The Netherworld is divided into six parts each of which deal with different aspects of the Beyond (depicted as either caves or pits) over which the sun god passes throughout the night. Much of the depiction is shown by pictoral images - while most of the text praise Osiris.

 4. Book of the Celestial Cow (18th Dynasty)
This was written from the time of the Amarna Period and was found in the Valley of the Kings. This tells the tale of the wish of the Sun god (the Aten) to destroy the human race, his then sadness and then his thoughts while in the heavens to start a religion made to follow his own wishes.

Click HERE to read this legend


 5. Book of the Day (19th/20th Dynasties)
Told the solar cycle along with lists of gods and very few lengthy texts.

 6. Book of the Dead (19th Dynasty)
The famous collection of spells - properly known as 'The Book of Coming Forth by Day'. This was different from the majority of the other texts listed here in that this was designed to be a personal scroll placed inside commoners tombs.
Some spells were unique but some had a history going back to the Coffin Texts and even are found in the Pyramid Texts.
The sole use was to help guide the deceased through the treacherous way to the Beyond as well as how to cope once there.

 7. Book of the Earth (20th Dynasty)
This dealt with the sun's nightly voyage through the Netherworld - the Netherworld being the Earth. In the Four parts to the Book there are many illustrations dealing with mummiform figures, Solar disks, Aker (representing the Earth) - and the earth itself dominated by burial mounds, caves, and sarcophagi containing divine corpses.

 8. Book of Gates (18th Dynasty)
The 'Gates' referring to the barriers that separate the twelve hours of night. It is similar to the Amduat, upon which it must be based, but is a more sophisticated writing. The Book of Gates examines certain problems of the Beyond, such as the threat of Apophis, time, Justice, material blessings and how the Beyond is made up.

 9. Book of the Hidden (or Secret) Chamber
(Refer to Amduat - below)

 10. Book of the Night
Written for the Ramesside royalty. This once again follows the sun on its nightly journey through the Netherworld. This time the journey is set within Nut, goddess of the heavens, who swallows the sun at the close of the day and gives birth to it each morning. The Book of the Night accompanies its twin book - The Book of the Day.

11. Book of the Heavens
Another Ramesside Text that parallel the Book of the Netherworld, and also with the charting of the heavens.

 12. Books of the Netherworld.
This is a broad modern term to describe the whole series of royal texts that are found on the walls of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Instead of being a collection of spells to help the deceased through to the Beyond, these texts are illustrated scientific and theological treatises describing the world of the Beyond.
Books of the Netherworld can also be a term which describes the Amduat, the Book of Gates, the Book of Caverns and the Book of the Earth.

LANGUAGE FOR THE BEYOND

 Amduat (New Kingdom)
(imy-duat) "that which is in the Netherworld" - (The Book of the Secret Chamber). The Amduat is a set of instructions used to intiate the deceased into the Beyond. There are twelve parts which are then each divided into three registers - each register has its own theme.
The twelve registers each correspond to an hour of the night, which gives an hour -by- hour account of the nightly voyage of the Sun-god through the Netherworld.
The Amduat is characterised by illustrated lists of divinities which are accompanied by texts relating to events and the participants.

 Decan
A time period - during the day the Egyptians used a sun-dial (or Clepsydra), during the night they relied on the decans. A table of constellations (Decans) was used, and when a specific constellation appeared on the horizon the table was consulted and the time could be worked out. During a period of 10 days the same decan was visible on the horizon. There were 36 different decans that were used of the course of the Egyptian year and were believed to be protective geniuses, later these were incoporated in the zodiac.

 Litany of Re
A two-part work which was in use from the middle of the 18th Dynasty (and probably composed at the same time as the Amduat).

The first part accalaims the sun god using 75 names - each name having a different function.

The second part is a series of prayers in which the pharaoh assumes various parts of nature, various deities but mostly assumes the form of the Sun-God.