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THE Boat of AFU-RA has now passed out of the dominions of KHENTI-AMENTI, the ancient god of the dead of the city of Abydos, and has entered the kingdom of SEKER, who is probably the oldest of all the gods of the dead in Egypt. The dominions Of SEKER were situated in the deserts round about Memphis, and were supposed to cover a large extent of territory, and their characteristics were entirely different from those of the regions ruled over by KHENTI-AMENTI near Abydos, and from those of the kingdom of Osiris, the lord of Busiris and Mendes, in the Delta. The kingdom of SEKER was shrouded in thick darkness, and, instead of consisting of fertile plains and fields, intersected by streams of running water, was formed of bare, barren, sandy deserts, wherein lived monster serpents of terrifying aspect, some having two, and some three heads, and some having wings. This region offered so many difficulties to the passage of the boat of AFU-RA, that special means had to be found for overcoming them, and
for enabling the god and his followers to proceed northwards to the House of Osiris. As there was no river in the land of SEKER a boat was useless to AFU-RA, and as the god was unable to travel through the FOURTH DIVISION boldly, and to allow himself to be seen by all the inhabitants thereof, it was arranged that he should pass through a series of narrow corridors, which were provided with doors. The pictures which illustrate the passage of the god through this DIVISION, or HOUR, are arranged in three registers, but the actual corridors through which he travelled are drawn across these obliquely.
The main corridor is called RE-STAU. At the end of the first section of it is the door MATES-SMA-TA (Vol. i., p. 63), at the end of the second section is the door MATES-MAU-AT (vol. i., p. 71), and at the end of the third section is the door MATES-EN-NEHEH (vol. i., p. 75). An inscription in this last tells us that it is the road by which the body of SEKER enters and that his form is neither seen nor perceived; hence it is clear that the road by which AFU-RA passed through this DIVISION was supposed to be high up above the dominions Of SEKER, and that he never saw that god at all. The name given to this DIVISION, or "CIRCLE," as it is called in the Summary, is ANKHET-KHEPERU, and that of its Gate is AMENT-SETHAU.
the goddess of the Hour is called URT-EM-SEKHEMU-S. We may now consider the means employed by AFU-RA
for passing through this HOUR. Looking at the middle register (vol. i., p. 63) we see that the god has discarded his ordinary boat, and that he and his crew are standing in a boat which is formed of a two-headed serpent; a serpent was the best means of transport for the god, because it could glide easily along the sandy floor of the rocky corridor. From the "mouth of the boat," which is drawn by four gods, rays of light are emitted; this light is not strong enough to enable AFU-RA to see the beings who are on each side of him (vol. i., p. 66), but knowing they are there, he cries out to them, and they hear him. The hidden gods who march in front of the boat are few in number, and the names of many of them are unfamiliar; some of them are connected with Osiris, and all of them are under the control of ANPU, or ANUBIS, and perform some act which helps the boat along. Among them may be specially noted Thoth and Horus, above whose outstretched hands is the Eye which is here identified with SEKRI (vol. i., p. 75).
As AFU-RA journeys on his way there are on his right three serpents, a scorpion, a uraeus serpent, a three-headed serpent with wings and human legs, a few of the gods of the HOUR, a serpent with two necks and heads proceeding from one body, and a tail which terminates in another head (vol. i., pp. 67, 71, 75, 79). On his left are a few more gods and goddesses, the serpents HETCH-NAU, AMEN, HEKENT, and the terrible three-headed serpent MENMENUT, the face of which illumines the chamber in which KHEPERA is born daily (vol. i.,
p. 79). Over the back of the last-named serpent are fourteen heads, which, as M. Maspero has well shown, re resent the gods of the first fourteen days of the month, and they are being carried by the serpent to fill the EYE which THOTH and HORUS are bringing through RE-STAU. The beings to the right and left of AFU-RA are ancient gods of the kingdom of SEKER, and each guards some door or corridor in it which leads to the hidden chamber of SEKER himself.
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