The Book of the Dead of the Egyptians consists in a numerous series of chapters intended to reveal the initiatory process through which a divine ancestor could reincarnate in a chosen descendant.
The Weighing of the Heart:
I will try to interpret some brief quotes that have caught my attention:
“I am the Today.
I am the Yesterday.
I am the Tomorrow.
Through my numerous Births
I subsist young and vigorous”.
Through his numerous rebirths (in this context rebirth and reincarnation are always interchangeable terms) the honourable ancestor has lived in the past, is living in the present and will live in the future, returning periodically to be young, healthy and strong.
“He aspires to eternal life
As is the Sky, without end and without limits.
Because, in truth, to the Sky belongs your Soul,
But the Earth owns its corporal form”.
The honourable ancestor aspires to live eternally through endless rebirths: the soul, i.e. the spirit, is associated with the Sky, since they are both eternal and immutable entities, whereas the body is associated with the Earth, since they are both temporary and mutable entities.
“May my Soul dwell in my Body,
My Body unite with my Soul!”.
The deceased aspires to a rebirth that will necessarily takes place through the reconciliation of the soul with the body.
“Know this, your head will be saved!
It will not be stolen from you, for all eternity!”.
For our ancestors the head was the symbol of the wisdom, memory and identity of a person: the skull had thus an essential role during the initiatory ritual of rebirth, and the text assures to the deceased that his head will be preserved and that his identity will belong again to him by means of future reincarnations.
“In truth, you are the same Horus
shining in the middle of your Cosmic Egg”.
Horus – the child that attempts to accomplish the initiatic ritual of rebirth – and the divine ancestor inside the pyramid – which is like a fetus inside the womb – are the same entity: both are waiting to be born from the cosmic egg.
The cosmic egg wrapped by a snake symbolizes the womb during pregnancy and the umbilical cord:
The ankh was the symbol of life and represented the female reproductive system, intended as universal matrix:
“Horus himself puts you erect
Like many times he has already done, with the sanctified”.
The child puts in erect position – a prerogative of those who are alive and a synonymous of life and return to life – the mummy of the divine ancestor, like many times has already happened in the past.
“Behold, I rise up from the Bowels of the Universe,
And for the second time I come to the world…
I return little child, without father, a new-born…
Nobody will be able to prevent me, when the time will come,
From answering to the questions that I will be asked…”.
The divine ancestor inside the pyramid has finally reincarnated in the body of the chosen descendant which has accomplished the initiation ritual: back in the world of the living and he will be able to answer to all questions concerning the metaphysical truths.
“Your navel is the Realm of the Dead.
Where Light and Darkness are in equilibrium”.
The concept of “navel” (as well as those of “navel of the earth”, “navel of the world”, “center of the earth” and “center of the world”) symbolized the realm of the dead, in this context the pyramid, the place where life and death are in equilibrium, the divine ancestor being not alive but not even definitively dead: he is in an intermediate state between these two, awaiting to be reborn.
“In truth, in the moment when I was born in the world of the Beyond,
A new deity was born: and it was me!
Now, with my own eyes, I can see…
I look around me; I exist.
My vision is clear and piercing.
Erect, I resume the interrupted thread of my existence…”.
The divine ancestor is reborn inside the pyramid, he returns to see with his own eyes and becomes aware of his renewed existence: alive again, he resumes the thread of his existence, interrupted only by a temporary death.
“The Yesterday has generated me.
I create the Tomorrow”.
He who becomes aware of his own cycles of rebirths owns the past, the present and the future.