The Hermopolitan Theology – Island of Flames

October 5, 2019by admin0

The Hermopolitan Theology – Island of Flames

In the afterlife of ancient Egypt, the duat, there is a region that contrasts with the marshes, lakes, and reeds that represent the Nun, the primordial ocean where the sun dives into the evening to resurface in the morning, is “the Island of Flames “where each deceased must pass to obtain eternal life.

The Island of Flames is already mentioned in the “Texts of the Pyramids” and in the “Texts of the Sarcophagus“.

The island emerges in Egypt near Ermopolis where the sun god Ra would have seen the light for the first time, a place then consecrated to the necropolis.

On some Sarcophagus, found at El Bersha, another necropolis near Ermopolis, there is a ritual called the “Book of the Two Ways” which includes a map of the underworld different from that of the Heliopolitan and Osiriac concepts, a topographic map accompanied by very rich texts confused where a river of fire is represented that goes from one end to the other, divided in two, on one side a road, on the other a canal, are the only two possible routes for the dead.

The Hermopolitan Theology - Island of Flames

In both streets, the course of the river is tortuous and irregular with narrow turns and fire gates defended by fierce guardians while all around there are monsters and snakes to contrast the Ba of the dead.

The Hermopolitan Theology – Island of Flames

The function of the fire is preponderant in contrast to the Heliopolitan theory where the predominant element is the primordial water that every night renews the power of Ra.

In the “Book of the Dead” chapter 126 presents a rectangular basin with undulations similar to those representing water, but these are brown in color to represent fire, on each of the four sides there are fire hieroglyphics while on four corners sit baboons with a green bust and blue legs and tail.

The representation follows a text that constitutes the final part of the declaration of innocence reported in chapter 125.

This theory considers fire as an element of regeneration, being the sun derived from fire, therefore, before obtaining spiritual rebirth, the deceased must also suffer he is the purification in the fire.

In the presence of the four cynocephals, the deceased addresses them with a speech:

<< …….. Or four Cynocephali who sit at the bow of Ra’s boat and convey the justice of the Lord of the Universe …… … You who live on Maat, exempt from evil …….. remove from me any iniquity that deserved punishment …….. grant that I can penetrate into the Imehet and enter Rosetau, crossing the mysterious portals of the West ……. >>.

To his entreaties the Cynocephals respond:

<< ……. therefore advances, we put an end to your transience by removing your faults …….. enter Rosetau … …. enter and go out to yours will as the Akhu …….. >>.

The fire thus served as a purifying and destructive element at the same time.

By: Piero Cargnino

Sources and bibliography:

Guy Rachet, “Larousse dictionary of Egyptian civilization”, Gremese Editore, 1992
Mario Tosi, “Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Gods of Ancient Egypt”, Ananke, 2004
Guy Rachet, “The Book of the Dead of the Ancient Egyptians”, Piemme, 1997
Edda Bresciani, “Great illustrated encyclopedia of ancient Egypt”, De Agostini, 2005


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