Killing Doomed Souls with Fire in the Egyptian Tuat

by Esteban

“The region now entered by Afu-Ra is called NET-NEB-UA-KHEPER-AUT, and it is 309 (or 480) atru or leagues in length, and 120 in width; it is, in fact, a continuation of the domains of Osiris, and in it is the House of Tet wherein the great god of the dead himself dwells.

The Boat of AFU-RA is preceded by three boats (vol. i., pp. 45-47) of a mystical character, containing hawk-gods, and mummied forms of gods who are akin to Osiris. Facing the boats are four forms of Osiris, with their arms and hands covered. Having arrived in this Division, AFU-RA cries out to its god, Osiris, who straightway creates these secret boats and sends them to bring AFU-RA to the place where he is.

The abode of Osiris is situated on the NET-ASAR i.e., the “Stream of Osiris,” a name given to the river of the Tuat in the THIRD DIVISION, and it is at the head of this river that the throne of Osiris rests according to some copies of the Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead. The inhabitants who are seen on both banks of the stream are called PERTIU, and they live on lands which have been allotted to them by Afu-Ra; in return for these they serve Osiris and defend him from the attacks of all his enemies.

As the boat in which AFU-RA stands and the three other boats move on, the gods on the banks move with them and guard them, and when they have escorted the great god to the end of their territory, they return to their old places and await his coming on the following night.

On the right of AFU-RA are twenty-six gods, and of these eight are forms of Osiris, four of Osiris of the North, and four of Osiris of the South; all are under the rule of KHETRA, who is the “Warder of this Field” (vol. i., p. 60), but it is only when they hear the words of AFU-RA that they come to life.

The work which they do in this region is to hew and hack souls in pieces, to imprison the shadows of the dead, and to carry out the sentence of death on those who are doomed to destruction in a place of fire; they cause fires to come into being, and flames to burst forth on the wicked.

Now in this case also the beings who are doomed to be burned in a place specially set apart for this purpose cannot be of the number of the gods who protect Osiris, for they were created by Ra to serve this god in this Division of the Tuat, and to attend upon himself as he made his journey through it each day.

They must, then, be the dead of olden time who have reached this Division, but who through want of friends and relatives upon earth to make proper and sufficient offerings daily, or through some other cause, have failed to find nourishment and have perished in consequence.

The realm of Osiris had to be cleared of such beings, and the gods whose duty it was to protect him destroyed them with fire. We may note, too, that in this Division the shadows and souls of the dead were supposed to wander about, and though we do not know how they arrived there, or exactly why they failed to please Osiris, it is quite certain that they were regarded as a danger to the god, and destroyed in consequence.”

E.A. Wallis Budge, The Egyptian Heaven and Hell, 1905, pp. 121-4.