Written by:
Essa Abdulrehman

 


 

Fountain of The Sun, Rastau, The Missing Portion of the Ancient Egyptian Religion
Published: Jun. 24, 2016    (Last Updated: Aug. 24, 2016)

The four sons of Horus emerging from fountain of the sun
The four sons of Horus emerging from a lotus flower planted in  a pool of water (fountain of the sun)

Ancient Egypt had two famous fountains of water, each is called fountain of the sun, one was in ancient Heliopolis and the other was in Siwa Oasis. Since the name of the fountain points to a relation with the god (the sun), it is expected to see some words about it in the Book of the Dead, but nothing is there! Sir Wallis Budge compiled a dictionary of hieroglyphic words, but there is no single word about it can be found anywhere in the whole dictionary! Does that mean the ancient Egyptians had nothing to say about it? Or maybe it is there, and it is a major part of the Egyptian religion, but its hieroglyphic symbol was incorrectly interpreted!

 

Summary


 The sky goddess Nut swallows the sun disk at sunset; the spirit of the disk goes to the netherworld

 
Dead people in lotus flowers
Fountain of the Sun in Amun's Temple at Siwa Oasis
Fountain of the Sun in the courtyard of
Amun's Temple at Siwa Oasis
Horus is born in the fountain of the sun of Siwa Oasis
Horus is born in the fountain of the sun
of Siwa Oasis

The sun disk is swallowed by the sky goddess Nut after sunset. The spirit of the disk, the sun god Ra, goes to the netherworld. He enters the netherworld from a blue lotus flower planted inside the fountain of the sun of Heliopolis when the flower sinks under water in the evening, and he is born in the morning from a lotus flower planted in the fountain of the sun of Amenta (Siwa Oasis), inside the courtyard of Amun's temple when the flower rises from water at dawn; and then he flies to unite with the sun disk that is born by the sky goddess Nut. What applies to the god, applies also to the dead people who travel with him in the boat of Maat (the night boat), and every dead person uses a separate lotus flower.

Fountain of the Sun of Heliopolis
Each fountain of the sun has an imaginary door at the bottom of the fountain that is supposed to lead to the netherworld.

The common thought is that the sun sets in a mountain in the west called Manu, and rises from a mountain in the east called Bakhau; this assumption is incorrect. The hieroglyphic symbol that is interpreted to mean mountain doesn't mean so.

The Egyptian religion is based on the mythical story of Osiris and his brother Set; Osiris was killed in the Delta (Heliopolis), and then he was appointed as a king of the dead in Amenta (Siwa Oasis); he was transferred from the Delta to Amenta in the sun boat, under the supervision of his wife Isis; he entered the netherworld from a lotus flower and came out from the netherworld from another lotus flower, just like the sun god. The night journey that every dead person goes through is a copy of the journey of Osiris.

Some contemporary scholars assume that the sun god comes out from the netherworld in the east, because the actual sun is seen rising from the east. If the god and the dead are all in the same boat, how is it possible for the god to come out in the east, whereas the dead people, who are with him in the same boat, to come out from the netherworld in the west, 180 degrees in the opposite direction? This assumption doesn't only conflict with the common sense, but also isn't supported by anything in the Egyptian literature. The netherworld journey is about the spirit of the sun, the dead sun god, not about the sun disk, and since the god and his followers are all in the same boat, so he must be reborn in the place where the dead are reborn, in the west of the Nile, one rule applies for all the dead, gods and people.

 

 

 

 

1. Introduction

Nothing is left from the Egyptian religion except names of gods, hymns and ritual texts, but no complete story of anything. The basics of the religion and how the ancient Egyptians used to practice it is still a mystery. Most ideas you read about the Egyptian religion are no more than speculations and interpretations, but no absolute facts. Some interpreters give you the evidence that supports their views, while others don't, leaving you wondering about the basis of the given opinion.

According to texts and pictures, the Egyptian religion basically is about life after death. The god Ra (the sun) comes everyday after sunset to the netherworld and takes with him in his boat (the boat of Maat) his followers who died that day to a place where they are judged in the Judgment Hall of Osiris, king of the dead.

Judgment Hall of Osiris
Judgment Hall of Osiris -- Anubis is weighing the heart of the deceased against the feather of Maat

 

The boat of Ra arriving at the fountain of the sun of Amenta, and the baby Horus is born The is born in the fountain of the sun
The boat of Ra arriving at the fountain of the sun of Amenta, and the baby Horus is born The sun, Ra, is born


Some assumptions about the Fountain of the Sun (the holy well) of Heliopolis do exist; they are given in the following quote:

"Heliopolis contained the earthly proxy of the tree of heaven, the holy Persea, and the sacred well which to this day is called "the Sun's Well" ('Ain Shams) and in which the sun was believed either to bathe himself morning and night or to have been born at the beginning of the world, when he arose from the abyss." (W. Max Muller, The Methology of All Races, Vol.12, p.31)

The sun springing from an opening lotus flower in the form of the child Horus.
The sun springing from an opening lotus flower in the form of the child Horus.

It is not mentioned in the reference book of the quote above on what basis these assumptions were made, "to bathe himself morning and night or to have been born at the beginning of the world;" so we cannot discuss them in any way.

What we have in this report is that the Sun (Ra) enters the netherworld from a blue lotus flower planted inside the fountain of the sun of Heliopolis when the flower sinks under water in the evening, and he is born from another lotus flower planted in the fountain of the sun that was in Siwa Oasis when the flower rises from water in the early morning. What applies to the god, also applies to the dead people who travel with him in the boat of Maat, the night boat, and every dead person uses a separate lotus flower.

It is assumed nowadays that Cleopatra's bath in Siwa Oasis is the historical fountain of the sun. This is not the case; according to two Greek historians the fountain of the sun was in the courtyard of Amun's temple, a few meters from the entrance of the temple. We will come back to this point later.

Many people think that the sun god travels in the netherworld in the opposite direction of the sun disk; starting from the west, and ending up in the east. In this report the sun god enters the netherworld from Heliopolis and comes out in Siwa Oasis, which is a further western point. That means the night journey is not related to the direction of the sun disk, but simply from one location to another.

 

Egyptian Gods and Goddess
Egyptian Gods and Goddess -- Horus and Ra look exactly the same, but the emblem is different; the same is true for the three goddess, Nephthys, Isis and Hathor, can be identified by the emblem on their heads. Ra, Khepra, Auf, and Atum (Temu) are images of the god Ra; Ra means sun.

 

2. Osiris, Fountain of the Sun, and Netherworld Journey

Nut is swallowing the sun disk after sunset

The picture above shows the dead sun god after he left the sun disk, and he is shown in the form of the god Temu (Atm) between the hands of Nut. The night boat is shown at the right side. The boat has two lotus flowers, one at the front end of the boat, and the other at the rear; the meaning of the flowers is explained in the picture below.

The picture to the left above shows the sun symbol entering from one lotus flower and getting out from the second flower. The standing lady is Isis and the man who is lying down is Osiris; they are identified by their logos; the logo at the left is of Isis, and the other is of Osiris

The picture to the right above shows Osiris coming out from the second flower. The natural explanation now is to say that Osiris must have entered from the first flower; he came from one place, used a boat as a transportation device, and then he came out in the second place from the second lotus flower. This idea is illustrated in the opposite picture that shows the head of a man at the rear and at the front of the sun boat. Some may think the two heads in the picture are of two different persons. This is the impression that we get at the first glance. But this is just the same as the sun symbol in the picture above, entering from one side and getting out from the other side; the sky has only one sun; so this head has to be of the same person.

Now what is this colorful building shown in the opposite picture?

This is Rastau, a complex imaginary underground structure that has many sections, gates and lakes. The upper part of it that is shown with vertical lines is the fountain of the sun. Everything below the vertical lines is imaginary, and it contains many evil things that the deceased has to pass in order to continue the netherworld journey with Ra.

In the Book of the Dead of Peter Renouf, the author described Rastau as a gate between the netherworld and heaven. We will come back to Rastau later, and we will see what the author has written about it.

In the Book of the Dead of Wallis Budge it is spelled Rastau or Ra-stau; and in the Book of the Dead of Peter Renouf it is spelled Restau.

It seems that the Egyptian religion is based on the story of Osiris and his brother Set. Here is the story as it is written in a book issued by the British Museum.

Osiris and his wife Isis

"Osiris had a twin brother called Set, the SETH of Plutarch, who was very jealous of him, and who lost no opportunity of undermining his authority and reviling him, for he wished to see Osiris removed from his path, so that he might seize his brother's throne and wife. At length, by a stratagem, he managed to kill Osiris, by drowning him in the Nile. The river, however, carried the dead body of Osiris to the papyrus swamps in the Delta, where the waters deposited it on the lower branches of an acacia tree, which grew up round it and concealed it. Isis discovered, by magical means, where her husband's body was, and went to the place and took possession of it. Wishing to visit her son Horus, so that she might urge him to take vengeance on Set, she hid the body in a secret spot, and went off to the city of Buto to Horus. During her absence, Set found the body one night when he was out hunting, and recognizing it, he tore it into fourteen pieces, which he scattered about the country. Isis, having heard what Set had done, set out and collected the portions of the body of Osiris, and wherever she found one of them she buried it, and built a shrine over it. Now Isis was a great enchantress, and she learned from Thoth the knowledge of magical ceremonies and of most potent words of power. She was able to transform herself into any kind of creature, and to travel through earth, air, fire, or water with equal ease. Instructed by his mother, Horus, with the assistance of a number of his "followers," performed a series of ceremonies connected with the burial of his father, which had the effect of raising Osiris from the dead, and of establishing him as king in Amenti, i.e., the " Hidden Place," or the Other World." (Guide to the Egyptian collections in the British Museum, p.138-139)

 

Some hints to the story of Osiris can be found in the Egyptian literature:

"Asar... He was drowned in the Nile by Set and suffered mutilation, but he rose from the dead, and having been declared by the gods innocent of the charges brought against him by Set, became King of the Dead and giver of immortality to all who believed in him." (Budge, Dictionary, Vol.1, p.83)

 

Regardless of the details of the Plutarch story, which may or may not be accurate, the point is that the dead body of Osiris was found in the Delta (Heliopolis) after he was killed, and then he was appointed as a king of the dead in Amenti (Ament, Amentet, Amenta). And based on the pictures that we have already seen, we can say that he was transferred from the Delta (Heliopolis) to Amenta in the sun boat; and the picture that shows his head coming out from the second lotus flower in the boat is actually about his night journey with the sun god from the Delta to Amenta.

The picture to the right shows the souls of Ra (the sun god) and Osiris, in the form of the Ba bird, standing on Rastau of Heliopolis. The door at the bottom leads to the netherworld. The nearby tree is the Persea tree of Heliopolis. The cat is Ra cutting the head of the snake Apep with a knife. Three other gods are also holding knives.

The Book of the Dead speaks about a battle happened in Heliopolis -- Based on the context of the texts below, and on the story of Osiris, we can say that the battle happened on the night when Osiris was transferred from the Delta to Amenta:

(1) "Hail, Thoth, who madest to be true the word of Osiris against his enemies, make thou the word of the scribe Nebseni to be true against his enemies, even as thou didst make the word of Osiris to be true against his enemies, in the presence of the Tchatcha Chiefs who are with Ra and Osiris in Anu [Heliopolis], on the night of the (things of the night), and the night of battle, and of the fettering of the Sebau fiends, and the day of the destruction of the enemies of Neb-er-tcher." (Budge, Book of the Dead, Vol.2, p.424)

(2) "I am the Cat which fought near the Persea Tree in Anu (Heliopolis) on the night when the foes of Neb-er-tcher were destroyed. Who is this Cat? This male Cat is Ra himself..." (Budge, Book of the Dead, Papyrus of Ani, Vol.2, p.390).

(3) Another text from the Book of the Dead says the battle happened inside Rastau: "Oh Thoth... as thou makest Osiris triumphant over his adversaries before the Great Circle of gods in Restau..." (Renouf, Book of the Dead, p.53)

(4) The Persea tree is inside Rastau: "And I have undergone the inspection of the god Whose face is behind him, who awardeth my verdict (36), so that I may behold what the Persea tree covereth (37) in Restau." (Renouf, Book of the Dead, Ch.cxxv, p.217)
 

Where is the location of Rastau?

We cannot just guess where Rastau is, but we have to use landmarks to identify its location. We learn from the texts above that the Persea tree is in Heliopolis (2); and the Persea tree is in Rastau (4); this leads to a conclusion that the first Rastau is in Heliopolis.

The battle that the texts above are talking about has taken place in Anu, inside Rastau. According to texts and pictures, the number of Rastau is two; one for the entrance to the netherworld and the second for the exit. We will see as we go on in this article that Rastau of Heliopolis is the entrance gate and the starting point of the netherworld.

 

The netherworld journey and the battle with the snake and evil spirits is repeated everyday with every dead person traveling with the sun god from the Delta to Amenti, and it is also repeated with the sun god himself. And all of this is just a copy of the netherworld journey of Osiris with the sun god Ra. The picture above shows some examples; the man on the upper part of the picture is Ani, the author of the Papyrus of Ani; he first fought the snake Apep and then he rode the boat of Ra; the lady at the front of the boat is Isis, the same goddess who supervised the transfer of Osiris to Amenti. On the lower left of the picture is the sun god in the form of Temu fighting the snake Apep, and on the lower right is the queen Nefertari standing on Rastau.

A question may be asked, if this rounded object is open from the top, how could they stand on it without falling inside? They are spirits anyway, without weight, and this could be the reason for showing the spirits stand or sit on it; but there are also drawings showing them standing at the edge or coming out from the top. And to avoid a confusion, we have to take everything into account, texts and pictures, before making any conclusion.

Below is a copy of the comment of Sir Peter Renouf on Rastau from his book, Book of the Dead:

The plates VI,11 and VII b mentioned in the quote above are those shown to the right.

In both of these two plates the sun god is leaving the netherworld from Rastau.

Now we have to understand that if we evaluate things independently, as separate things, we will not make any progress, we will be lost, but only if we deal with them as a combination, and one explains the other, then we can see the different parts that make up the story; and this includes texts and pictures.

In the Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary of Wallis Budge, Rastau is mentioned under many different words; below are some examples:

QUOTE: "The twelfth domain. O this domain of Unt, within Restau, the heat of which is that of fire. No god goes down into it, and the glorious ones do not gather into it" (Renouf, Book of the Dead, Ch.cxlix, p.306)

The text above talks about heat somewhere in Rastau. Ancient Greek historians have written that the fountain of the sun of Siwa Oasis was boiling hot at midnight. The idea behind the text above could have been based on the hot water of the fountain at midnight.

QUOTE: "I am he who is born in Restau. Glory is given to me by those who are in their mummied forms in Pu, at the sanctuary of Osiris." (Renouf, Book of the Dead, Ch.cxviii, p.206)

From Budge's dictionary and other texts we can say now that Rastau has many different sections. In the quote above the dead man says that he is born in Rastau. Pictures show people are born from lotus flowers. So the lotus flowers must be somewhere in Rastau, and we should put the lotus flowers in the upper part of it, in the place where they are supposed to be. Rastau is also a gate between the netherworld and heaven, so the sun god must be entering and leaving the netherworld from Rastau. And if we continue collecting the attributes of Rastau in this way, we will have a clear idea about it, and a better understanding of the Egyptian religion.

A group of gods and people are born from Lotus flowers
A group of gods and people are born from Lotus flowers, in Rastau (from the quote above: I am he who is born in Rastau).

 


(Renouf, Book of the Dead, Plate V)

The picture above contains many sections of Rastau, and each section is shown in a separate block. The overall shape of Rastau is shown in block 4b. The bottom part of the picture is about the entrance Rastau (the entrance gate), where people and gods enter the netherworld. The upper part is about the exit Rastau. The man sitting on the chair is Osiris, and everything shown in the upper part of the picture is supposed to be in the place where Osiris is. Block 4a shows the sun god Ra entering the netherworld from a lotus flower. Block 2b shows the sun god leaving the netherworld; and in this block (2b) we see the symbol of the sun on top of water; and this block means fountain of the sun.

The twin lion Aker is shown in blocks (5a, 8a and 1b). His function is to open the earth's gate; QUOTE: "Aker opens the earth’s gate for the king to pass into the Underworld." (George Hart, The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, p.10, 2nd Ed.)

The earth's gate is the gate between the netherworld and heaven, Rastau.

The picture to the right shows the two lions in a different representation, with lotus flowers in between; but the scene is actually the same as shown in the picture above. This picture combines blocks 5a and 8a in one scene.

Sometimes they draw Rastau as a part of the boat of Ra; some other times it is replaced with a lotus flower; but neither Rastau nor the flower are physically part of the boat; and the drawings are just for showing how the dead come out from the netherworld.

 


  Internal gates inside Rastau  (Peter Renouf, Book of the Dead, Ch.cxlvii, p.296 - 298)

 



 Simplified scenes show gods and people come out from the netherworld.

See block C and D in the picture above; in block D the Sun is coming out from a cylindrical object, and in block C a person is coming out from the same object; and this shows that there is no difference between the god and his followers in the way they enter and leave the netherworld.

 

3. Redefining a Hieroglyphic Symbol





 

We see sometimes the Fountain of the Sun drawn with a shape like a curve on the upper part of it; as shown in the images above. But what is this curve for?

By looking at the color pictures above, we can see that the curved object where the two men are standing is very similar to a water well, with an outer edge that is just above their feet. The difference between a fountain and a well of water is that the well has its water contained inside, whereas the water of the fountain flows to the outside. If you don't make a special arrangement for the water coming out of the fountain, it will fill its surroundings, and you will not be able to come close to the source. The curve makes the water flow in a stream, like the simplified drawing to the right.

If we look now at the above shapes all together, we will come up with a conclusion that is different from looking at one shape only. For example, if you look at shape A, you may think the sun enters a room or a house. And if you look at the color pictures and picture E, you may think that the curved object is a well of water, with a vessel of water at the right and another vessel at the left.

But if you look at the picture of the lions only, and nothing else, you may get confused, and then you may think of the curved object as mountain, assuming that the ancient Egyptians 5000 years ago thought of the Sun to set in mountains.

And if someone who has no idea at all about the Egyptian religion might think of the lions as they are in a show, playing with a ball, and the lady is the lions trainer! Different people get different conclusions when they look at an issue from one angle only.

The curved object between the two lions is nothing but the same curved object shown in the other pictures above; it is the same curved object that looks like a well of water with men standing nearby.


 Fountain of
 the Sun

Now this symbol is interpreted to mean mountain. Another very close and related symbol is interpreted to mean horizon; the horizon above the mountain of sunrise and the mountain of sunset. These interpretations give the impression that the interpreters are talking about the sun disk. The night journey has nothing to do with the sun disk. The sun disk is swallowed by the sky goddess Nut and doesn't set in mountains. The spirit of the disk doesn't have to be the same size as the sun disk itself. And because of these misinterpretations, Rastau lost its meaning and the Egyptian religion lost its concept!

Let's see now an example of the symbol that is incorrectly interpreted to mean a mountain.

The picture to the right is from Budge's dictionary; he defines the first term to mean the two mountains of sunrise and sunset.

The second term is identical to the first one, but the interpretation is somehow different!

The symbols are the same; and the two curved symbols in each term mean one for the entrance to the netherworld, and the other for the exit. And of course they are not mountains.

The first term above also shows two rectangular symbols, one above the other (on the right side above). And this means they are equivalent to the curved symbols.

Sometimes the Egyptians draw two symbols for one thing; one symbol explains the other, a determinative sign to avoid confusion; and that is the purpose of the two rectangular symbols. The two symbols are equal; see the picture to the right.

Elsewhere in the dictionary, Wallis Budge defined the rectangular symbol to mean stone; regardless whether of a mountain rock or not.

Notice that the height of the curved object is just
above the foot and below the ankle. Can this be
a mountain?

Maybe a stone or maybe not, one word can have different meanings, and the translation depends on the context of the text, just like translations of modern languages; if you don't know what the text is about, you may use wrong words; and then the translated text may not make sense with the wrong words; so you may think of inserting additional words from your mind to make the overall text make sense; and if you do so, you may end up destroying the meaning of the whole text completely. This kind of text corruption happens in translations of modern and active languages, so it shouldn't be a surprise if it happens in translations from obsolete languages.

The picture to the right magnifies the two rectangular symbols, one above the other, and the symbol of water can be seen clearly inside, instead of lines in the small rectangles.

The second definition from the dictionary above, that says, "the two mountains between which the deceased emerges" is explained in the picture below; the standing man is a deceased; the blue man is the god of primeval water, Nun -- the primeval water is simply the muddy water where lotus flowers grow. Now compare the man in lotus (above) and the object where the lotus is planted, to these rectangular objects, and you will see the rectangular object is the same.

The two red highlighted rectangles in the picture to the right, which is a part of the picture above, they look the same as the ones we have seen in the term Tui, and they are supposed to be equivalent to the curved symbol , but even if they are not, there is no definition for the small rectangle, whether it has lines inside or not, except stone. But the blue boxes are not stones or mountains, and the text above the blue boxes must be saying something about them, and the small rectangles in the text have to be symbols for these blue boxes.

 

The sky goddess Nut from the Temple of Hathor at Dendera

Tui (horizon) Tui
Below are links to the original pictures from which the picture of Nut above was constructed:
dendera-hathor-a.jpg
dendera-hathor-b.jpg
dendera-hathor-c.jpg

In the picture above the supposed mountain (Tui) is shown on one side, and Rastau is shown on the other side of Nut.

The B/W picture (right) shows Tui on the left side of Nut, on the opposite side of Tui in the previous picture!

The born goddess is Hathor in both pictures, and both of them are from the same temple of Hathor at Dendera. The point is that these two things are exactly the same, and can be demonstrated interchangeably. They are the same as the blue water boxes that we have already seen. And the water boxes certainly are NOT mountains.


The god Anubis is described in a text from the Book of the Dead as the one upon his mountain; QUOTE: "He that is upon his mountain (i.e., Anpu) keepeth watch 44. over thee ready for the moment when thy foes shall attack thee, and he shall repulse them for thee."
(Budge, Book of the Dead, Vol.2, Ch.137A, p.662)

Below is the original text; the curved symbol and the rectangular symbol are drawn together.

Anubis is usually drawn sitting on Rastau or on a rectangular coffin, but not on a mountain! If his title is the one upon his mountain, some paintings should show him in that scene, but nothing could be found.

Misinterpretation of one very important symbol led to countless mistakes, and also led to misunderstanding of the entire Egyptian religion.

Anubis is not only a protector of tombs, as described in many contemporary writings, but also protecting the souls entering or leaving Rastau. However, he is not protecting Rastau or tombs by directly sitting on them as shown in paintings, but providing spiritual protection in one way or another; otherwise he cannot be present in many different locations at the same time.

 

  Rastau on the Sphinx Stele; the original drawing is on the right; the picture to the left is an explanatory sketch

 

Things can be represented in different ways; the picture of the lion Aker above is an example; and the various representations shown in the picture are of the same event, same thing, and in the same place.


 Rastau painted on the chair of Osiris
Rastau could be the most important part of the Egyptian religion; on the picture above it is carved on the Sphinx Stele; and on the picture to the right, it is painted on the chair of Osiris. Wherever you look into the Egyptian religion you will find Rastau in front of you in one form or another.

Anubis (Anpu) is also associated with Rastau, so he is drawn with it in various forms, including his symbol:

 

If we compare now the symbol of Anubis, with the text we saw earlier, that says "upon his mountain", the given symbols have to mean the same thing; here is the text again:

The dead enter the netherworld from Rastau, not from a mountain, so the text should read: the one upon Rastau keeps watching you, ready for the moment when your enemies attack you...

 

4. The Sun Sets in the Land of Life

It is thought that the Sun (Ra) sets in a mountain called Manu. But this doesn't agree with the text:

 "Adoration to Tmu as he setteth in the Land of Life. The Osiris N; he saith, adoring Tmu, when setting in the Land of Life and shedding his rays on the Tuat; Hail to thee setting in the Land of Life, O Father of the gods, thou art united to thy mother in Manu." (Peter Page Renouf, Book of the Dead, p.27)

As we have seen earlier the sun disk doesn't set anywhere on earth, but swallowed by the sky goddess. So the quote above must be about the spirit of the sun disk, in the form of Tmu, he sets in the Land of Life, and united to his mother (the sky goddess Nut) in Manu. It seems that Manu is the western horizon or an area somewhere in ancient Egypt.

The picture to the right is a copy from Budge's dictionary; it is about a place called "Ta en ankh", and means Land of Life; Ta means land; ankh means Life. Budge defines it as a district of Heliopolis. We have already seen that the first Rastau is in Heliopolis. This place, the land of life, is most likely the one meant in the text above.

Notice that they say "set" and not "enter" when they actually talk about the god entering the netherworld!

A dead man coming from the Land of Life: "I have come today from the land of life" (Rune Nyord, Breathing Flesh: Conceptions of the Body in the Ancient Egyptian Coffin Texts, p.355);

The author, Rune Nyord, commented on the phrase Land of Life in the quote above and said "is regarded as the point of origin, and not destination" -- and must be the point of origin because the dead man has come with Ra in the same boat, from the same place, and Ra sets in the Land of Life.

 

5. Amenta, The Hidden Land Is Siwa Oasis

The place where the god Ra comes out from the netherworld is called (Amenti, Amenta, Amentet) -- Amen means Hidden; ta or tet means Land.

Amenta is mentioned in many places in the Book of the Dead, and described as a beautiful place, the place where the dead live, and Osiris is the Lord of Amenta.

The Egyptian religion was a mysterious, secret religion; only high priests knew the details of it; and because of this they wanted the land of the dead to be hidden, secret land. The Greek historian Plutarch wrote the story of Osiris, and he wrote that Osiris was established as a king in Amenti, but he doesn't seem to know where Amenti is. Ancient Greek and Roman officials used to visit Siwa Oasis for future prophecies or predictions in the temple of Amun-Ra, but most likely they knew nothing about the religion itself.

The picture to the right contains definitions from Budge's Dictionary; one for Amentet and the other for Ta Amentet. Not much in these definitions but they tell us that it is the abode of the dead and it is on the west of the Nile.
 

Osiris raising the sun god at dawn

In the picture above we see Isis and Nephthys with the god Ra (the sun) at sunset, at sunrise, and behind the chair of Osiris. Osiris hands can be seen clearly under the so-called djed-pillar raising the god Ra at dawn, and this shows that it is Osiris who helps Ra to come out of the netherworld at dawn.

This Amenta is the same place where Osiris was established as a king of the dead, and we will see now that it is Siwa Oasis.

If we say the god Ra enters the netherworld in the temple of Heliopolis, it is very logical to assume he comes out from the netherworld in another temple; in a place where people can do prayers and religious ceremonies.

goddess Ament (Amentet)
Amen (Amun) of Amenta
Nome Ament
The netherworld is shown sometimes with an emblem that contains a disk with a bird and feather on it. The picture to the right shows this symbol. The young lady in the picture is the goddess Ament (feminine of the god Amen). The god Amen (Amun) also has this logo attached to his name in one of his symbols, and it means Amen in Amentet.

There was a nome (province) in ancient Egypt that has the name Ament, with the same emblem that is used for the netherworld (see the picture); and this indicates that the netherworld is a place on the earth and it is inside the borders of Egypt.

The picture to the right shows that the capital of Nome Ament is Hapi; Hapi is Apis in Greek.

The Roman map below shows Apis in a blue circle; according to Wikipedia at the link below, it was a seaport. Siwa Oasis is shown on the map in a red circle.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apis_(city)


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cyrenaica_Marmarica.jpg

Since we are looking for landmarks of a religion that started at least 5000 years ago, the map we have can be considered very recent relatively. Things must have gone major changes since the start of the religion. So it looks like the name Ament was given initially to Siwa Oasis, and after so many centuries the name Ament was applied to the whole desert west to the Nile, the Libyan Desert, and the seaport Apis has become the capital of the province Ament. However, regardless of the geographical changes, the religious belief must have remained the same, and Siwa Oasis must have remained Amenta, the hidden land, religiously.

In the book (Egyptian Mythology A to Z) the author described the goddess Ament, and wrote in a sentence: "From her home in the branches of a tree at the edge of the desert, Amentet watched for the souls as they approached the entrance to the Netherworld, or next world." (Pat Remler, Egyptian Mythology A to Z, 3rd Ed. p.10)

It is not mentioned in the reference book above whether the given description is a translation of a hieroglyphic text, or based on interpretation of pictures only, but at least we have a source that agrees with what we have in this article. If you look now at the map above, you will see Siwa Oasis (the red circle) at the edge of the Egyptian desert.

 

6. Bakhau is the Mountain of the Dead in Siwa Oasis

The name Bakhau (Bakha, Bachau) is thought to be the mountain of sunrise in the east; just like thinking of Manu as the mountain of the sunset in the west; Bakhau and Manu are thought to be the most easterly and westerly points of the sun's course.

Unlike Manu, Bakhau indeed is a mountain, but NOT in the east, in the west of the Nile.

The picture above is a copy from the dictionary of Wallis Budge. As you can see, the word bakh means "to give birth to"; and the word Bakhau is derived from the word bakh; this is confirmed by the pictured quote below. The meaning of birth is important because it lets us think about the birth of the god, instead of thinking about the rise of the sun disk.

Based on the definitions we see here, Bakhau is clearly associated with the birth of the god Ra in the early morning, but that birth doesn't have to take place in the east, where the actual sun is seen rising in the morning. And since we are talking about a spirit, the spirit can be born anywhere on earth and then flies to the disk at the speed of light.

There is a holy hill in Amenta, the land of the dead; QUOTE: "Homage to thee, O thou who dwellest in the Holy Hill (Set-Tchesert) of Amentet" (Budge, Book of the Dead, Vol.2, p.365)

Ani is walking near the holy hill of Amenta
 Ani is walking near the holy hill after he passed the trial before the god Osiris  Hathor is coming out from the holy hill

 

 Osiris is sitting in his temple on the Holy Hill of Amentet  Sebek or Sebak, a crocodile god, a form of Osiris

 Sebak

 Anubis
The picture to the right above shows Sebak, a crocodile god, a form of Osiris, sitting on Rastau; that doesn't mean Rastau is there; this is just to show his relation with it, as it appears with his name (right); Anubis is also shown (right) for comparison; many drawings show Rastau in different places.

This holy hill is the Hill of Bakhau, the assumed mountain of sunrise in the east. See the eye painted on this mountain, behind Osiris; it resembles the eye that is drawn with the symbols of Bakhau; shown below:

This symbol () is not a part of the word Bakhau, but a determinative sign of it, as mentioned in the quote above from the book of Peter Renouf.

Notice that the mountain symbol in Bakhau is different from the single curved symbol . Now we have a painting of a mountain that we can see, which indicates that this is the correct symbol for mountain, but there is no painting of a mountain for the single curved symbol .

The following quote is about this hill, the hill of Bakhau:

"In respect of the Hill of Bachau (i) upon which heaven resteth, it presenteth itself (2) three hundred cubits in length (3) and two hundred cubits in breadth. Sebak, the Lord of Bachau, is at the east of the Hill, and his temple is upon it. There is a serpent on the brow of that hill, five hundred cubits in length, three cubits of his forepart are pierced with swords." (Peter Page Renouf, Book of the Dead, Ch. cviii, p.178)

Below are the dimensions of the hill from the quote above:

Length: 300 cubits; about 160 meters (300 x 52.8 / 100 = 158.4)
Width: 200 cubits; about 106 meters (200 x 52.8 / 100 = 105.6)

1 cubit = 52.8 cm

The author commented on the dimensions of the hill and wrote:

"The earliest Papyri give the dimensions of both, but make the hill so absurdly small that the serpent could not rest upon it. Later papyri beginning with Pf have corrected the texts so as to give the hill a length of 300 cubits... The Papyrus of Nebseni gives the hill 300 cubits in breadth. The Totenbuch of Turin reads 370 in length, and 140 cubits in breadth." (Peter Renouf, Book of the Dead, p.180)

There is a rocky hill in Siwa Oasis called Hill of the Dead, or Mountain of the Dead. Using wikimapia, we got the dimensions shown on the picture below.


source: http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=29.211085&lon=25.526020&z=18&m=b

As you can see, the width and length we found, they match, at least, one of the given numbers in the quote about Sebak or in the author comments. The ones who wrote the original texts did not agree on certain numbers anyway, so if we get numbers that match any of the given possibilities should be accepted, right? 

The quote about Sebak talks about a snake sitting on the hill, "There is a serpent on the brow of that hill, five hundred cubits [260m] in length, three cubits of his forepart are pierced with swords."

If you look now at the picture of the hill (right), you can see it rounded and naturally carved at the top. This rounded and carved shape could be the reason for them to believe in a big snake sitting there.

The quote also says that Sebak has a temple on the eastern side of the Hill, "Sebak, the Lord of Bachau, is at the east of the Hill, and his temple is upon it." Sebak is a form of Osiris in the belief of some religious groups; the details of this point are beyond this article. There is no temple for Osiris in the Oasis now, but there are traces of one he had there.


The Tomb of Niperpathot at Gebel (Jebel) al-Mawta in the Siwa Oasis
http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/niperpathot.htm

The picture to the right is of a tomb of a man on the Hill of the Dead, and from the link below the picture, we have this quote: "It belonged to a man whose chief title was 'Prophet of Osiris', and this shows that a temple for the god Osiris existed in the Oasis during his lifetime."

We could not find where that temple was, but if the conclusions we are arriving at are correct, it should be on the eastern part of the Hill of the Dead. It might have been destroyed; or it might have been built inside the mountain like a cave, and now its entrance is blocked with rocks and sands. In any case, more information about it may exist in the oasis somewhere, but hasn't been discovered yet.

 

7. Fountain of the Sun of Siwa Oasis

The god Amun-Min is shown all the time with his penis exposed. He is shown in one image, at least, from a temple in Egypt, in the form of the lion goddess Sekhmet (lioness); maybe the religious group in that part of Egypt wanted to see him in this form.

Because of his uncovered penis, he is described in contemporary writings as the god of fertility.

The uncovered penis is not the only attribute that appears with him all the time, but there is also a cylindrical object behind him with a lotus flower on top of it. Most pictures show the lotus between two trees.

Since the Egyptologists who know how to read hieroglyphic language do not say anything about the cylindrical object, we assume that there is no description written about it on walls or papyrus, so they bypassed it without any comment.

By looking at the visible features of this cylindrical object, and comparing it with other similar objects, we can say that it is the fountain of the sun in Siwa Oasis.

The object behind Amun-Min looks very similar to the one next to it in the picture above near the Persea tree of Heliopolis. In the picture to the right, the goddess Hathor is born from an object that has a tree on each site of it. The two trees almost identical to the ones that are on the object of Amun-Min.

 

More pictures of the cylindrical object are shown above. This object is in the place where the god Ra is reborn daily, plus the righteous people who pass the trial before Osiris. The door at the bottom of the object leads to the netherworld.

The first picture to the right shows the sun symbol coming out of a lotus flower. See the circle at the lower part of the flower stem, and compare it to the circle of the flower stem of the object behind Amun-Min; they are the same. The circle is most likely the Ankh symbol; the second picture to the right explains it.

The blue picture (right) shows the full view. The door is very likely facing the boat, but it seems that the artist who made this picture wanted to show it clearly, so he drew it as shown.

 

The picture to the left above shows the god Ra, and the disk of the morning sun is on his head, meeting the dead queen Nefertari. The goddess sitting next to him and holding his arm is Ament, a goddess of the west.

The other picture shows the god Ra giving the ankh to a dead king, the disk of the morning sun is on his head, and the god Amun is sitting behind him. The Ankh is a symbol of life; the dead are awarded this symbol after they pass the trial before Osiris. All of this shows that the god Ra meets Amun and the dead people in the early morning, in the place where Amun and the dead people are, in the west of the Nile.


 The morning sun giving the ankh to Alexander the Great, after his death, in the place where Amun is.

 

The dead Alexander the Great and a dead king meet Amun-Min

The pictures to the right shows Amun-Min and his fountain of the sun, with dead people; which indicates that the fountain of the sun is in the place where the dead people are.

It is very logical to have all the dead, gods and people, to enter and leave the netherworld from the same points. The sun god in his night journey is dead; so why should he be excluded?

Many think that the so-called Cleopatra's Bath is actually the historical fountain of the sun. By looking at pictures of this bath, and comparing it to what we think is the fountain of the sun, the two things look completely different; see the pictures below.

 Fountain of the Sun as shown in Egyptian paintings  Cleopatra's Bath

Cleopatra's Bath doesn't only look different, but it is also located about one km away from the temple of Amun.

After investigating this issue, we found a reference book on Google Books with information that agrees with the paintings and the location; the book suggests that it is similar to a well of water, and located about 37 meters only from the entrance of the temple:

 "in the middle of the holy precinct" and in the "immediate neighbourhood of the sanctuary"
(Annales Du Service Des Antiquites de L'Egypte, Volume 82, p.191, By The Supreme Council of Antiquities)

The internet search for the suggested, the presumably, Holy Well, resulted in one picture only (below); from an Arabic web page about tourism in Siwa and about its history.

The Holy Well (Fountain) at Amun's Temple in Siwa Oasis
source: http://siwa-tourism.blogspot.com/2014/02/Date-Alexander-Historical-cultural-Siwa-Oasis.html
 Fountain of the Sun as
 shown in painting

There is no curve that we can see in this picture; but it seems that extra rocks have been added to the outer edge; the original rocks are cemented together, while the added rocks are loose. Maybe the Egyptian administration in Siwa have added the extra rocks to prevent sands from falling inside, or maybe it had water until very recently, but the water did not have enough pressure to come out of it, and the locals were utilizing it, so they put the extra rocks in order to take care of it.

There is a dark rectangle carved on the internal wall at the bottom of this hole. Could this be the imaginary door that appears in pictures? The Egyptians made real boats imitating the sun boat, so it is very possible that they made what looks like a door or entrance, in the direction of the water flow, to imitate their belief in the supposed night journey.

The second thing that is worth noting is the internal structure of the fountain; it is made of rings of rock blocks. Compare this to the blue painting above; it is also made of rings of rock blocks. And with the door at the bottom, this painting seems to be an image of this hole.

The picture to the right shows a gate on top of the fountain of the sun, to mean that the fountain is a gate to the netherworld. The picture next to the gate is just for comparison. Note that there are dots on the fountain's outer edge. Egyptologists who have interpreted this shape as mountain might have thought of these dots as mountain rocks. The picture of the fountain above shows that it was made of rocks; so there is no difference in terms of rocks/dots between the actual picture of the fountain and the pictures of it in the Egyptian literature.

When looking at the sun god coming out of a lotus flower, then we have to assume that the flower is planted in muddy water. Mud doesn't come from under ground, but as a result of mixing a special type of soil with water.

The second picture to the right above shows two vessels above the fountain; one of them contains a dark substance. This dark substance most likely the mud required for the lotus flower. The other vessel also seems to contain a substance needed for the lotus flower, but we don't know what it is.

The third picture above shows the fountain's outer edge, and two women pouring the substances inside the fountain. The substances reach the bottom of the fountain. As the time goes and the water flows, the mud comes out of it; so they do it again; and the process continues; and because it is a continuous process, they drew it like a circle.

The internet search did not produce any result for the fountain of the sun that used to exist in ancient Heliopolis; but if excavations found it in the future, it should be just the same as this one; because the Egyptian drawings show that the two fountains are identical in shape, with a door at the bottom.

 

8. Fountain of the Sun and the Moon

The moon in his boat on top of Rastau; and
this shows the moon's relation with it
The moon boat landing at fountain of
the sun
The moon boat is sailing with no
passengers except the moon alone

Full moon on top of a crescent moon is the symbol of the moon.

Based on the moon's pictures, we can say that the moon uses Rastau to enter and exit from the netherworld.

Ancient Egypt had two types of lotus flowers, but with a contradicting behavior; the blue water lily sinks under water at sunset and rises from water at dawn, while the white water lily sinks under water at dawn and rises from it at sunset. Maybe the moon uses the white water lily, or maybe not.

Not much about the moon is in the book of the dead, but there are several chapters to be recited on the first day of the moon. So maybe the moon enters the netherworld once in a month only.

If we say the netherworld journey is a copy of the journey of Osiris, then what is the purpose of the journey of the moon? Since the starting and ending point of the moon's journey are the same as that of the sun, then it has to be related to Osiris by some means.

This is all we have to say about the moon and the fountain of the sun, because our topic is about the function of the fountain of the sun, and not about the function of each god associated with it. A separate research about each god is required in order to know the exact role of each god in the netherworld.

 

9. Greeting the Rebirth of the Dead with Nude Dance

In the picture above, which is from the temple of Hathor at Dendera, the goddess Hathor, the daughter of Ra, is welcoming the rebirth of the dead; the one at the left side is her father Ra, and the other is Horus. But why is she naked?

In other pictures from tomb paintings we see naked women dancing and playing music. What can be concluded from this is that the ancient Egyptians used to greet the rising lotus flower from water with music and nude dance; the rise of the flower is a sign signaling the rebirth of the dead.

The story of this nudity goes to Hathor and her father Ra; QUOTE: "In the myth of the contest for power between Horus and SETH it is the goddess [Hathor] herself, 'lady of the southern sycamore', who cures her father Ra of a fit of sulking by dancing naked in front of him until he bursts into laughter." (George Hart, The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, 2nd ed., p.65)

King Ramses III is completely naked with the exception of the hip belt; behind him baboons and in front of him is a cartouche with the symbol of the rising sun inside. This tomb painting shows that they also welcome the rising flower (the rebirth of the dead) with gifts.

 

10. Conclusion

The picture to the right is a very simple sketch, but it summarizes the whole night journey of the sun god Ra. The god enters the netherworld from a lotus flower, and he comes out of it from another lotus flower; he uses a boat as a transportation device in the netherworld. What applies to the god, applies also to the dead people who travel with him in his boat; and every dead person uses a separate lotus flower. The night journey that every dead person goes through is a copy of the night journey of Osiris.

We have texts from the book of the dead stating it clearly that the first Rastau is in Heliopolis, but there are no such clear texts about Siwa Oasis. However, instead of the clear texts, we could find physical evidence that shows that the exit Rastau is in Siwa Oasis; the dimensions of the Hill of the Dead, and the structure of the fountain of the sun that appears almost identical to the one shown in paintings.

The fountain of the sun (Rastau), the lotus flower, Heliopolis, and Amenta (Siwa Oasis), seem to be the most important components that make up the Egyptian religion. Ignoring any of them leads to misunderstanding the whole religion. And since the modern researchers are unaware of the importance of these pillars, and they haven't studied them carefully, the Egyptian religious literature is still fuzzy for them. ☼

 

 

Same event, different representations; Isis and Nephthys greeting Ra at dawn when he comes out of Rastau

 

Same event, different representations; Aker opens the earth's gate for the dead to pass into the netherworld; the earth's gate is Rastau, it the gate between the netherworld and heaven

 

Rastau may be drawn anywhere, even inside the sun boat. This indicates a relation, and not a physical location

 

All the dead, gods and people, are welcomed with nude dance (dancing for the rising lotus flower from water; the rise of the flower is a sign signaling the rebirth of the dead)

 

Dead gods and dead people come out from the netherworld in the land of the dead; one place common for all, gods and people

 

Same thing demonstrated differently; Rastau = Tui = Fountain of the Sun

 

All in one

 



References:

Most reference books mentioned in this article are available for download from 4shared.com at the link below:
http://www.4shared.com/account/home.jsp#dir=Yg_P1g6n


The Egyptian Book of the Dead, The Papyrus Of Ani, 1240 BC, html format, color plates
http://www.ganino.com/the_egyption_book_of_the_dead


Egyptian mythology
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_mythology

Most black and white pictures used in this article are from the Book of the Dead of Peter Renouf, which can be downloaded from 4shared.com at the link above.

 

 








 

 

 

 

 

 

 




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