In the final hour of the Book of Gates the sun god moves towards the exit from the neterworld and is reborn. In the upper register on the left stand: Four gods holding a disk in their right hands (“they who hold light-giving disks”), Four gods holding a star in their right hands (“they who hold stars”), Four gods holding a sceptre in their left hands (“they who come forth”), Four ram-headed gods holding a sceptre intheir left hands (Ba, Khnum, Penter, and Tent), Four hawk-headed gods holding a sceptre in their left hands (Horus, Ashemth, Sept and Ammiuaaf), Eight female figures seated on a chair made from a uraeus with its body coiled up, each holding a star in her left hand (“the protecting hours”), and a crocodile-headed god called Sobek-Ra who holds a coil of a serpent that stands on its tail in his right hand, and a sceptre in his left. The text reads…..
(of the gods holding discs) Those who are in this picture carry the disk of Ra, and it is they who make a way through the Duat and the height of heaven by means of this image which is in their hands. They utter words to the Pylon of Akert so that Ra may set himself in the body of Nut.
(of the gods holding stars) Those who are in this picture carry stars, and when the two arms of Nun embrace Ra they and their stars shout hymns of praise, and they journey on with him to the height of heaven, and they take up their places in the body of Nut.
(of the gods holding sceptres) Those who are in this picture [having] their sceptres in their hands, are they who establish the domains of this god in the sky, and they have their thrones in accordance with the command of Ra.
(of the ram-headed gods) Those who are in this picture [having] their sceptres in their hands, are they who decree [the making ready] of the offerings of the gods [from] the bread of heaven, and it is they who make to come forth celestial water when as yet Ra hath not emerged in Nun.
(of the hawk-headed gods) Those who are in this picture [having] their sceptres in their hands, are they who stablish the shrine [in the boat of Ra], and they lay their hands (on the body of the double boat of the god after it hath appeared from out of the gate of Sma, and they place the paddles [of the boat] in Nut, when the Hour which presides over it (the boat) comes into being, and the Hour [which hath guided it] goes to rest.
(of the goddesses) Those who are in this picture with their serpents under them, and their hands holding stars, come forth from the two Atert of this great god, four to the East and four to the West; it is they who call the Spirits of the East, and they sing hymns to this god, and they praise him after his appearance, and Setti cometh forth in his forms. It is they who guide and transport those who are in the boat of this great god.
In the middle register the boat of the sun being towed as before. In front of him stands nine gods, each holding a huge knife in his right hand, and a sceptre in his left. The first four gods have jackal heads, and the last five heads of bearded men. They are labelled as “the company of the gods who slay Apep. To their right we can see Apep, restrained by numerous chains which represent the five gods seen in earlier hours. Further right stand four apes holding up a huge hand and wrist. To their right stand three gods: Amenti (the goddess of Upper Egypt), Herit (the goddess of Lower Egypt), and Sobekhuti (who holds an Ankh). The text reads…
(of the gods towing the boat) The gods of the Duat say, Behold the coming forth [of Ra] from Ament, and [his] taking up [his] place in the two divisions of Nun, and [his] performance of [his] transformations on the two hands of Nu. This god does not enter into the height of heaven, but he opens [a way through] the Duat into the height of heaven by his transformations which are in Nun. Now, what opens the Duat into Nut are the two hands of Amenrenef (he whose name is hidden). He exists in the thick darkness, and light appeareth [there] from the starry night.
(of the nine gods) Those who are in this scene [with] their weapons in their hand take their knives and hack [with them] at Apep; they make gashes in him and slaughter him, and they drive stakes whereby to fetter him in the regions which are in the upper height. The fetters of the rebel are in the hands of the Children of Horus, who stand threateningly by this god with their chains between their fingers. This god counts up his members after he whose arms are hidden hath opened [the door] to make a way for Ra.
(of Apep) The Children of Horus grasp firmly this serpent which is in this picture, and in this picture they rest in Nut. They heap their chains upon him, and whilst his coils are in the sky his poison drops down from him into Amentet.
(of the apes) It is those who are in this picture who make ready for Ra, a way into the eastern horizon of heaven, and they lead the way for the god who hath created them with their hands, [standing] two on the right hand and two on the left in the double atert of this god; then they come forth after him, and sing praises to his soul when it looketh upon them, and they establish his Disk.
(of the three gods) Those who are in this picture turn away Set from this Gate [of the god Duati. They open its cavern, and stablish the hidden pylons, and their souls remain in the following of Ra].
In the lower register we can see: four gods wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt (“Kings of the South in chief”), four bearded gods (“the Weepers”), four gods wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt, four bearded gods (Reneniu, “those who give names”) four queens wearing the crown of Upper Egypt (“Queens of the South”), four queens wearing the crown of Lower Egypt (“Queens of the North”), four women without crowns, four bearded gods with their heads bowed, and a cat-headed god called Mati.
(of the gods wearing the white crown) Those who are in this picture establish the White Crown on the gods who follow Ra, they themselves remain in the Duat, but their souls go forward and stand at the gate.
(of the “weepers”) Those who are in this picture in this gate weep for Osiris after Ra hath made his appearance from Ament, their souls go forward in his train, but they themselves follow after Osiris.
(of the gods wearing the red crown) Those who are in this picture are those who unite themselves to Ra, and they make his births come to pass in the earth, their souls go forward in his train, but their bodies remain in their places.
(of the Reneniu) Those who are in this picture are they who give the name to Ra, and they magnify the names of all his forms; their souls go forward in his following, but their bodies remain in their place.
(of the women wearing the white crown) Those who are in this picture are they who make Ma’at advance, and who establish it in the shrine of Ra when Ra takes up his position in Nut, their souls pass onwards in his following but their bodies remain in their places.
(of the women wearing the red crown) Those who are in this picture are they who stablish time, and they make to come into being the years for those who keep ward over the condemned ones in the Tuat and over those who have their life in heaven; they follow in the train of this great god.
(of the women without a crown) Those who are in this picture in the gate weep and tear their hair in the presence of this great god in Amentet; they make Set withdraw from this pylon, and they do not enter into the height of heaven.
(of the gods with bowed heads) Those who are in this picture make adoration to Ra and sing praises to him, and in their place in the Duat they sing to those gods who are in the Duat, and who keep guard over the Hidden Door. They remain in their places.
(of the cat-headed god) The warder of the door of this Circle remains in his place.
The final gate, the gate of Tesert-Baiu, can be seen at the far right of this division. At its entrance stands the bearded and mummiform Pai, at the exit, Akhekhi. Two staves with beareded heads guard the door, one has an image of Khepri above it, the other a sun disc. The gate is also guarded by two huge serpents, Sebi and Reri. There are also two ureaus representing Isis and Nephthys. The text reads….
The great god comes forth to this gate, this great god enters through it, and the gods who are there praise the great god.
(by the two staves) The Sun-god under the form of Khepera with his Disk, in his Boat, supported by Nun and received by Nut. They stand up on their heads, and they come into being on their staves by the gate; the heads stand up by the gate.
(by Sebi) He who is over this door openes to Ra. Sai says unto Sebi “Open your gate to Ra, unfold your portal to Khuti, so that he may come forth from the hidden place, and may take up his position in the body of Nut”. There is wailing among the souls who dwell in Ament after this door has closed.
(by Reri) He who is over this door opens to Ra. Sia says to Reri “Open your gate to Ra, unfold your portal to Khuti, so that he may come forth from the hidden place, and may take up his position in the body of Nut”. There is wailing among the souls who dwell in Ament after this door has closed.
(by Isis and Nepythys) They guard this hidden gate of Ament, and they pass onwards in the following of this god.
Finally, the sun god leaves the neterhworld and emerges in the waters of Nun. Nun holds aloft the boat of the sun god, who is in the form of Khepri. Isis is to the left of the sun, Nepythys to the right. The other gods on the boat are probably Geb, Shu, Heka, Sia and Hu. Above the boat is the body of Osiris curled into a circle with the goddess Nut emerging from its head. She stretches her arms out to receive the sun god. The text reads…
These two arms come forth from the waters, and they bear up the god. The god takes up his place in the Matetet Boat with the gods who are in it. Nut receives Ra.
- Book of Gates; introduction
- Book of Gates; hour one
- Book of Gates; hour two
- Book of Gates; hour three
- Book of Gates; hour four
- Book of Gates; hour five
- Book of Gates; hour six
- Book of Gates; hour seven
- Book of Gates; hour eight
- Book of Gates; hour nine
- Book of Gates; hour ten
- Book of Gates; hour eleven
- Book of Gates; hour twelve
- Hornung, Erik (1999) The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife
- Wallis Budge, E.A. (1905) The Book of Gates
copyright J Hill 2018