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The Egyptian Book of the Dead

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Author Topic: The Egyptian Book of the Dead  (Read 7992 times)
Josie Linde
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Posts: 4493

« Reply #30 on: December 21, 2008, 10:14:53 pm »

The sekhem or form.

Yet another part of a man was supposed to exist in heaven, to which the Egyptians gave the name sekhem. The word has been rendered by "power," "form," and the like, but it is very difficult to find any expression which will represent the Egyptian conception of the sekhem. It is mentioned in connection with the soul and khu, as will be seen from the following passages from the pyramid texts

1. i-nek sexem-k am xu

Cometh to thee thy sekhem among the khu's.[6]

[1. I.e., Horus.

2 Recueil de Travaux, t. v., p. 19 (l. 174).

3. Recueil de Travaux, t. v., p. 41 (l. 289).

4. See below, p. 117.

5. See below, p. 115.

6. Recueil de Travaux, t. v., p. 160 (l. 13).]

{p. lxix}

2. Uda sexem-k am xu

Pure is thy sekhem among the khu's.[1]

3. aha uab-k uab ka-k uab ba-k uab

Thou art pure, pure is thy ka, pure is thy soul, pure is


thy sekhem.[1]

A name of Ra was[3] sekhem ur, the "Great Sekhem," and Unas is identified with him and called:--

sexem ur sexem em sexemu

Great sekhem, sekhem among the sekhemu.[4]

The ren or name

Finally, the name, ren, of a man was believed to exist in heaven, and. in the pyramid texts we are told that

nefer en Pepi pen hena ren-f anx Pepi pen hena ka-f

Happy is Pepi this with his name, liveth Pepi this with his ka.[5]

Thus, as we have seen, the whole man consisted of a natural body, a spiritual body, a heart, a double, a soul, a shadow, an intangible ethereal casing or spirit, a form, and a name. All these were, however, bound together inseparably, and the welfare of any single one of them concerned the welfare of all. For the well-being of the spiritual parts it was necessary to preserve from decay the natural body; and

[1. Recueil de Travaux, t. v., p. 175 (l. 113).

2. Recueil de Travaux, p. 175, 1. 112.

3. Ibid., t. iv., p. 44,1. 393.

4. Ibid., p. 60, ll. 514, 515

5. Ibid., t. v., p. 183, l. 169.]

{p. lxx}

certain passages in the pyramid texts seem to show that a belief in the resurrection of the natural body existed in the earliest dynasties.[1]

The texts are silent as to the time when the immortal part began its beatified existence; but it is probable that the Osiris[2] of a man only attained to the full enjoyment of spiritual happiness after the funeral ceremonies had been duly per formed and the ritual recited. Comparatively few particulars are known of the manner of life of the soul in heaven, and though a number of interesting facts may be gleaned from the texts of all periods, it is very difficult to harmonize them. This result is due partly to the different views held by different schools of thought in ancient Egypt, and partly to the fact that on some points the Egyptians them selves seem to have had no decided opinions. We depend upon the pyramid texts for our knowledge of their earliest conceptions of a future life.

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