INTRODUCTION TO THE PASSAGE

In his most valuable book, THE ANCIENT EGYPTIAN PYRAMID TEXTS, James Allen asserts
that the texts carved in the walls of the Passage between the Sarcophagus Chamber
and the Antechamber are in fact continuations of the Offering and Resurrection Rituals
carved in the northern and southern-eastern wall of the Sarcophagus Chamber.
If we follow his directions we should jump from

* the last utterance of the Lower Register of the northern wall (Utt. 171)
* to the last two Utterances of the eastern Wall (223 - 224),
* then enter the North Wall of the Passage (199),
* go through it (32-23-25) up to Utt. 200,
* then back to the first Utterance (244) of the southern wall of the Passage (the smashing of the Red Pots),
* then back and up the eastern Gable of the Sarcophagus Chamber (204-212),
* then back to the southern wall (Utt. 213),
* continue through the eastern wall up to Utt. 222,
* then back to the southern wall of the Passage, skipping Utt. 244 already taken into account,
* and continue until the end of the southern wall of the passage, Utterance 246.

This seems indeed to me an unnecessary and quite intricate meandering and,
with all the respect I have for Professor Allen, whose texts are
indispensable guiding lights for me, I am so bold as to assert
that the Passage connecting the Sarcophagus Chamber and the Antechamber
has an indipendent state, and its specific place and weight in the course
of the "rite of passage" described by the texts carved in the walls of the pyramid.
As I have already pointed out in some previous annotations,
I am convinced that the Sarcophagus Chamber and the Antechamber are closely connected
with two specific phases of the rite of passage, that is what we might call
the "little mysteries" (sarcophagus) and the "big mysteries" (antechamber).
In the Antechamber the "themes" exposed and experienced in the Sarcophagus Chamber
are revisited and re-experienced at a more profound psychological level.
So, two qualitatively different levels that require a psychological adjustment
and the Passage works as a sort of "decompression chamber",
which resumes what has been going on in the Sarcophagus Chamber
and prepares Wnjs, who has completed successfully the first phase,
to deal with his second and more important psychological task.
According to my interpretation the path of the rite which takes place
in the Sarcophagus Chamber follows this sequence:

(1) West Gable (226-243)
(2) North Wall (23-171)
(3) South Wall (213-219) -- which continues through the
(4) East wall (219-224)
(5) East Gable (204-212)

Now, how does the last Utterance of the eastern gable (212)
connect logically and symbolically to those of the Passage?
Utt. 199 (the first of the northern wall of the Passage)
seems to be what is called "the reversion of the offerings",
which in fact marks the end of the offering ritual.
Having offered "symbolically" the spiritual food to the god,
the priest leaves the chapel bringing back with him
the "material" food which will be distributed amongst his fellows and aids.
Now, the last spell of the eastern gable of the Sarcophagus Chamber (212,133f)
refers specifically to "pastry and meat offerings" /xnD sASrt Awt =f pi/.
And that is a semantic, symbolic and logical connection to Utterance 199.
But there is another act which marks the end of the ritual,
the so called "smashing of the Red Pots",
which we find in the first utterance of the southern wall of the Passage (244).
This utterance is closely linked to 199, through the "eye of Horus".
In 199,115b we read /Hw nxx irt Hrw xr =k/ (irt Hrw -> eye of Horus), repeated four times;
in 244,249a we read /irt tw-nn n(i)t Hrw rwdt /, the same /irt Hrw/.
What is interesting to note is the fact that the first utterances
of the two walls (199 - 244) occupy, each one, just one column.
They look like virtual "pillars", or, as Naydler
(Shamanic Wisdom in the Pyramid Texts) defines them: "sentinels".
They are the "psychological" hinges of the door of the Sarcophagus Chamber.
In his retreat the lector-priest does symbolically close the door
and "the smashing of the Red Pots" marks both the end of the Ritual
and the defeat of the enemy, that is to say the force that hinders the journey.
(We may see in the smashed red pots the two testicles of Seth and his injury.)
So, proceeding along the way that I've set down for the Passage, we now find:

(1) Passage North Wall (32-23-25-200)
(2) Passage South Wall (245-246)

We start with the northern wall because Utterances 32,23,25 deal
with the purifying act of the birth ritual,
already met in the northern wall of the Sarcophagus Chamber.
In fact, having accomplished his task in the Sarcophagus Chamber
(little mysteries) Wnjs has become once again a new-born baby
and I don't think we go off-track in considering the Passage
as the womb out of which he is going to come forth
in the western gable of the Antechamber. So there is

* the "cleansing" of Utt. 32,

* the apotropaic ritual of Utt. 23 against his enemies;

* a positive reinforcement of Utt. 25, the awareness
of the positive influences of his helping gods.

* Utt. 200 is the final "censing" which asserts, officially,
the "divinized" state of the new born, purified Wnjs.

At this point Wnjs is ready to attain his "celestial" aim.
In the southern wall of the Sarcophagus Chamber
he went through the Osirianization process;
in the southern wall of the Passage are configured the lines
of his solarization process, his ascent to the sky.
He becomes a falcon, a mighty one, that has the power
of the ram and of the bull, namely Ra and Maskhetiw, the bull of the sky:
astronomical images make their vehement entrance,
setting the stage for Wnjs's catasterismi.
And the final image, that of the ithyphallic god Min,
represents both the fertilizing power of Wnjs
and his imminent rising in the east, like the rising sun,
because Min is associated with the eastern region,
being "he who raises his arm in the east" /Dsr rmn Hr iAbtt/.

Orlando Mezzabotta

omezzab@tin.it


Here you can find my "hystrionic" analysis of the passage:

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And here my audio/video rendering on YouTube:

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