Who And What Are Those Egyptian References In Liber Resh?

The Stele of Reveal­ing, which Crow­ley cre­ated Liber Resh, was a trans­la­tion from the Ancient Egypt­ian to the French by the assis­tant cre­ator of the Boulaq Museum in Cairo, under the super­vi­sion of the Egyp­tol­o­gist Bugsch Bet in 1904. In 1912, Crow­ley had the trans­la­tion done again by Sir Alan Gar­diner and Bat­tis­combe Gunn. There were, not sur­pris­ingly dif­fer­ences of opin­ion about some of the words and names. In Crowley’s The Holy Books of Thelema, the mod­ern pub­lish­ers included an addi­tional mod­ern trans­la­tion done in 1982. Since the three dif­fer­ent trans­la­tions are avail­able in the above book, I sought to add some oth­er­wise addi­tional his­tor­i­cal and pho­netic obser­va­tions upon the three. It is inter­est­ing to note, that the words that Crow­ley cre­ated for Liber Resh were never updated from suc­ceed­ing trans­la­tions, and remain from the first translation.

Hail unto Thee who art Ra in Thy ris­ing, even unto Thee who art Ra in Thy strength, who trav­ellest over the Heav­ens in Thy bark at the Upris­ing of the Sun. Tahuti standeth in His splen­dour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the Helm. Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Night!

The sun god had a plen­i­tude of names, Ra or Re being the Sun God of Heliopo­lis. The hiero­glyph for Ra is an open mouth, an extended arm and a god seated with a sun and uraeus upon its head. Watch­ing the sun­rise upon the hori­zon, one can eas­ily see why it appears as a mouth open­ing, its arms of light extend­ing out­ward. A god sit­ting upon the edge of the world, or appear­ing to be born from the primeval abyss of water, which for the Egyp­tians was the Red Sea in the East. Budge declares that it was “by the agency of the god Khep­era, who brought this result about by pro­nounc­ing his own name.” And, indeed, Khep­era does pro­ceed Ra com­ing from the dark­ness unto the light of day.

Ra’s bark is the Sek­tet (or Man­jet) boat “the bar­que of mil­lions of years,” which car­ries Him across the watery abyss of the celes­tial sky. Sek­tet can be trans­lated as “sek,” that which gath­ers together and girds itself against some­thing; and “te,” mean­ing a kiln or hot; and “t” is often used as an end­ing on nouns; Also, “tet” sig­ni­fy­ing sta­bil­ity or dura­tion. Thus, “the sta­ble, hot boat, which is and pro­tects Ra.”

The crew of this boat is made up of the gods of cre­ation, wis­dom and magic. Tahuti, or Thoth, the God of Wis­dom and magic, inven­tor of hiero­glyphic writ­ing and scribe of the Gods, sits in the front of the Sek­tet boat, like the baboon that cer­e­mo­ni­ously, every day faces the ris­ing of the sun; but in this case appears as an Ibis bird. Ra-Hoor, is another name for Horus, mean­ing “the house of Ra.” An ancient hymn, from the Papyrus of Ani describes this. “Thoth stands at the prow of thy boat, smit­ing all thine ene­mies,” and “I have seen Horus at the helm and Thoth act­ing at his command. ”

Hail unto Thee who art Ahathoor in Thy tri­umph­ing, even unto Thee who art Ahathoor in Thy beauty, who trav­ellest over the Heav­ens in Thy bark at the Mid­course of the Sun. Tahuti stan­dith in His spendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm. Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Morning!

Ahathoor, Het-Hert, Het-Heru or Hathor when trans­lated means “the dwelling or house of Horus” and was also known as “the mother of Light.” She is the sym­bolic celes­tial cow who gave birth to the uni­verse. She was a sky god­dess in gen­eral; but she was also con­sid­ered both a sun god­dess and a moon god­dess. She rep­re­sents the sky from the east­ern to the west­ern hori­zon. So hon­or­ing Her at noon, is to give recog­ni­tion for Her cre­ation at its peak. She is often depicted, being car­ried upon a boat, as water was Her ele­ment, and was iden­ti­fied astro­nom­i­cally with the star Sept, or Sothis, which is called “the sec­ond sun.”

Hathor was also the god­dess of beauty. The Hathor Mir­ror, with its round brass face when highly pol­ished was used by women of the Pha­ronic courts as a per­sonal hand mir­ror. The suns celes­tial light was cap­tured in the face of the beholder. The beauty of the sun trans­ferred to the one who held the mir­ror. From the papyrus of Ani comes this sen­tence: “O thou beau­ti­ful being, thou dost renew thy­self in thy sea­son in the form of the Disk within thy mother Hathor.” The solar disc is often depicted between her horns. Her role of car­ing for the dead led Her to be called the Queen of the West, as she also ush­ered the dead to the under­world and fed the souls upon her milky tits.

His­tor­i­cally speak­ing, Hathor was not known to be the noon deity, Ra was, and Khepri or Khep­hera was the morn­ing God, as Atum was in the evening. In the Boulaq trans­la­tion, how­ever, she is men­tioned as one of the four main gods.

Hail unto Thee who art Tum in Thy set­ting, even unto Thee who art Tum in Thy joy, who trav­ellest over the Heav­ens in Thy bark at the Down-going of the Sun. Tahuti standeth in His spendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm. Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Day!

Tum or Atum, was the orig­i­nal god of Heliopo­lis, pre­ced­ing Ra. He was a sun god whose name meant “to be com­plete” or “to make an end of.”  He rep­re­sents the sun in the evening and in His form of the snake, he rep­re­sents the con­cept of the end of the uni­verse. Atum is also pic­tured as a bearded man wear­ing the Dou­ble crown of the Pharaoh. Also from the Papyrus of Ani is found this line. “I am Atum when he was alone in Nun, I am Ra when he dawned, when he began to rule that which he had made.” There is also, “The glory of Unas is in the sky, his power is in the hori­zon, like Atum his father who fash­ioned him,” which is from the Pyra­mid Texts of the Fifth dynasty (2600 B.C.E.). Tum is the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the “old god, who grows weary,” the father of Ra. The Boulaq trans­la­tion spells his name “Toum.” Gar­diner & Gunn spell it “Tom,” and the mod­ern trans­la­tion is “Atum.”

Hail unto Thee who art Khep­hra in Thy hid­ing, even unto Thee who art Khep­hra in Thy silence, who trav­ellest over the heav­ens in Thy bark at the Mid­night Hour of the Sun. Tahuti stan­dith in His splen­dour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm. Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Evening.

Khepra (the Boulaq trans­la­tion) or Khepri (Gar­diner & Gunn trans­la­tion) and Khep­eri (the mod­ern trans­la­tion) is known as the sacred scarab bee­tle and “he who becomes,” or “self cre­ated.” His­tor­i­cally, again, Khepra sym­bol­ized the dawn­ing sun, hav­ing been born in the East, not as Crow­ley spoke of him at night. His inter­pre­ta­tion of the bee­tle, who rolled together a ball of dung for which the female laid her eggs and buried it in the earth until it was time to hatch, gives the impres­sion that this was a time of dark­ness. At the time of a funer­ary death, it was a scarab amulet that was placed over the heart, which was intended to stim­u­late the dead heart to beat again at some future time. From the Book of That Which is in the Under­world, (Papyrus Naskhem), it says, “In the twelfth hour of the night, Ra enters into the con­fines of thick dark­ness. In this region the god is born under the form of Khep­era.” It is not Ra who is seen in the boat now, but a bee­tle that stands in the cen­ter. And from the papyrus of Nesi-Khensu, The god Khepera,“who is unknown and who is more hid­den than the other gods, the unknown one who hideth him­self from that which cometh forth from him.”

Unity utter­most showed, I adore the might of Thy breath, Supreme and ter­ri­ble God, Who mak­est the gods and death to trem­ble before Thee: I, I adore thee!

Unity utter­most showed is the poetic para­phras­ing of the group­ing of the Stele’s gods, Khep­era, Ra, Hathor and Atum. The above became the dra­matic inter­pre­ta­tion from the Boulaq trans­la­tion, “o for­mi­da­ble soul, who inspires ter­ror of him­self among the gods.”

Appear on the throne of Ra. Open the ways of the Khu, Lighten the ways of the Ka. The ways of the Khabs run through To stir me or still me, Aum, let it fill me.

The throne of Ra is the hori­zon. It is also that which is our eter­nal, inter­nal flame.

The Khu is known as sev­eral things. Pri­mar­ily, it is of the spir­i­tual self. It is a spir­ited intel­li­gence that has a higher and a lower form. In the lower form it shows itself visu­ally as a specter of low flame. It is the seat of intel­li­gence and men­tal per­cep­tion. It is part of the per­son and their thought forms that per­form thought, rea­son, judg­ment, analy­sis, reflec­tive facil­i­ties, mem­ory and acts as the cre­ative self. It can be trained and dis­ci­plined and ded­i­cated to the higher form of Khu. There is always the pos­si­bil­ity of it devel­op­ing as vam­piric. The higher form is the “Glo­ri­ous, or Shin­ing One. ” Its form is the crested heron, hav­ing a shin­ing or lumi­nous effect. It is the spir­i­tual side of man. The Gods and God­desses and divine per­sons can have sev­eral spir­its or Khus. Using this Khu, one can pass into the domains of Thoth and Hathor. One of the seven souls of Ra was a Khu, depicted as a disc rain­ing down in the mean­ing of “splen­dour.” In the Boulaq trans­la­tion, it is spelled, n khu mean­ing “to the bright one.” or  khu “the bright­ness.” For Gar­diner & Gunn, they trans­lated it as the Sekh; and the mod­ern trans­lates to “ah” or “i.” The sen­tence refers to open­ing to this higher source within.

The Ka is the dou­ble or abstract per­son­al­ity; the inner self; the prin­ci­ple of the body; the con­scious­ness self; the pro­tec­tive genius. It is the tran­scen­dent part of man. The Ka gov­erns the senses, per­cep­tions and con­scious­ness. It is the sum of all the senses. Visu­ally, it is a light shadow, the etheric and the astral body. It could sep­a­rate itself from or unite itself to the body at will and could move about freely. Funeral offer­ings were made to the Ka or offer­ings were painted on the tomb walls. There were priests of Ka, who per­formed ser­vices in honor of the Ka. Its hiero­glyph is seen as two con­nect­ing arms held up. It is a part of the astral inner self. The Boulaq trans­la­tion states that Ka means ele­vated or sub­lime. Also, kha, means “ele­vated or appear­ing.” Gar­diner & Gunn trans­lated it to a dif­fer­ent part of the sub­tle body, the Ba soul. The mod­ern trans­la­tion spells it ka mean­ing the “high one.” The sen­tence refers to the light­en­ing of those phys­i­cal senses and allow­ing the astral to ascend.

The khabs is from the Boulaq trans­la­tor who was refer­ring to the Khaibit. It is the shadow, the dweller on the thresh­old. Khaibit, means, “to veil or cover.” In gen­eral it is where the power of the seven plan­ets con­verge and man­i­fest in each indi­vid­ual. The Boulaq trans­la­tion spelled it n khab mean­ing “to the shadow” or “to the body.” Gar­diner & Gunn named it the khabt. The mod­ern trans­la­tion was very dif­fer­ent, sw(t) (i), mean­ing “my shadow.”

There are two aspects to the Khaibit, the lower and the higher. The lower khaibit is the black shadow attached to every per­son. It can be inde­pen­dent and free at will and can go out into open sun­light. Some­times it is vis­i­ble as an aura of light. It can be vam­piric and sim­i­lar to Don Juans’ shadow. This shadow is also known to the Greeks as the Umbra. When it is seen as light in its lower form, it appears as a flick­er­ing ecto­plas­mic light. In the higher khaibit form the hiero­glyph is depicted as a shade. Within the khaibit, as the dweller on the thresh­old, it is the “pro­tec­tive God of the heav­ens,” the “opposer and ter­ri­ble defender of the door.” Within it rests the ele­ment of self-deception, but it is also the bridge to the higher planes where the “ill will” will not go. It is the pro­ducer of motion and emo­tion; it sus­tains sen­sory per­cep­tion; and sus­tains blood; and is there­fore very impor­tant in dis­eases. It is con­sid­ered to be the “abode of the psy­chic pat­tern.” Because of its heav­enly influ­ences, it can cause delu­sions. It is the root of emo­tional sen­si­tiv­ity and the pro­fi­ciency of cre­ative arts. As the dweller, it sus­tains and enhances pride, jeal­ousy, fear and anx­i­ety. It is there­fore also volatile and can influ­ence oth­ers. It is the plus and minus poles of the imag­i­na­tion. There are invo­ca­tions to bring it out from the phys­i­cal body through the use of a mir­ror. It is also closely asso­ci­ated with the Ba soul. The sen­tence refers to the asso­ci­a­tion we have with our shadow. Will it keep us still to the point of stag­na­tion or will it stim­u­late us to our fullest cre­ative potential ?

The light is mine: its rays con­sume Me: I have made a secret door into the House of Ra and Tum. Of Khep­hra and of Ahathoor. I am thy The­ban, O Mentu, The prophet Ankh-af-na-khonsu.

We are each filled with our own indi­vid­u­ated light. The secret door is that process by which we open our­selves up to the dif­fer­ent aspects of our­selves in the form of each of these gods, which are a phase, a path, a trans­mu­ta­tion where we find expe­ri­ence. The amount of light we shed upon these parts of our­selves, both within a twenty-four hour period in the way in which the lighted heav­enly bod­ies give us their light and through time, from birth until death. This is the con­sum­ing cul­mi­na­tion of all the rays. May this light trans­pose us.

It was in Thebes, now Luxor, the great city of the dead, that the great­est tombs and mon­u­ments are found. Thebes was the home of the high priests that ruled Upper Egypt when it was divided in the 21st Dynasty. Its Egypt­ian name also means “Wise.” It is also the largest city in which Mentu or Mon­tju or Mont was hon­ored. Mentu was the war-like falcon-headed or bull­head god who came to power in the 11th Dynasty. In the 12th, Amun rose to power and Mut his con­sort adopted Montu into the The­ban triad. He was com­pared and equated with Ra, Amun and Horus. One of his titles was “Horus with the strong arm.”

Ankh-af-na-khonsu is the deceased prophet of Mentu, Lord of Thebes, who is “true of voice,” hon­ored in the Stele of Reveal­ing. He is also the son of a per­son of the same rank as Bes-n-maut, and of the priest­ess of Ammon-Ra, the mis­tress of the house Ta-nech. On the reverse of the stele with the Boulaq trans­la­tion, it says that it is he who “has left the mul­ti­tudes and rejoined those who are in the light, he has opened the dwelling place of the stars; now then, the deceased, Ankh-af-na-khonsu, who has gone forth by day in order to do every­thing that pleased him upon earth, among the liv­ing.” In the Gar­diner & Gunn trans­la­tion, he is “the Opener of the Doors of Nut in Kar­nak, the Jus­ti­fied.” The mod­ern trans­la­tion spells his name Ankhef-en-Khonsu.

To fur­ther trans­late the mean­ing might be closer to the fol­low­ing, “Ankh” is both a tool and a sym­bol mean­ing of “new life.” The hyphen –af is always part of another word that lends exclam­a­tory force. The word na is gen­er­ally used as a prepo­si­tion, such as “to, for, belong­ing to, through, or because.” “Khonsu” was the adopted son of Amun and Mut from the The­ban triad. His name comes from a word mean­ing, “to cross over” or “wan­derer” or “he who tra­verses.” So, his entire name may be trans­lated as “the truth that has crossed over.”

By Bes-na-Maut my breast I beat; By wise Ta-Nech I weave my spell. Show thy star-Splendour, O Nuit. Bid me within thine House to dwell, O wing’d snake of light, Hadit, Abide with me, Ra-Hoor-Khuit.

In the Boulaq trans­la­tion, Bes-na-maut is the “son of mnb­snmt (the fathers name who was a for­eigner) and born of the Sistrum-bearer of Amon, the Lady Atne-sher.” It is also stated that Bes n mut, was the son of the priestess-musician of Amun-re, mis­tress of the house Ta nech. Bes-na-Maut (also spelled Bes-en-mut in the mod­ern trans­la­tion) can be bro­ken down to mean, Bes, as bs, which means “to intro­duce, be ini­ti­ated into a mys­tery, or hav­ing mys­te­ri­ous form.” Bes, was also a pop­u­lar domes­tic deity, a bearded dwarf with shaggy hair, bandy legs and a tail, often wear­ing a lion’s skin. He was the patron of music, jol­lity, and child­birth. He was asso­ci­ated with human plea­sures of all kinds and he pro­tects mankind by first stran­gling then devour­ing any ser­pent that might threaten the one wear­ing his like­ness as a charm. The word na, again to reit­er­ate, means “to, for, belong­ing to, through, or because.” It can also be a neg­a­tive, mean­ing “not,” or in this case may intro­duce a proper noun.

As for Maut, we must assume the pho­netic pro­nun­ci­a­tion and make it that of the God­dess, Maat. Maat, in short was the per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of truth and jus­tice, who was seen as wear­ing a sin­gle feather. The feather rep­re­sented truth and it is seen in the judg­ment as being weighed on a scale in bal­ance against the heart of an indi­vid­ual. So even though the name is for­eign and there is no clue to the vocal­iza­tion, if we use the Gar­diner & Gunn trans­la­tions, the name could be trans­lated as an oath mean­ing essen­tially, “by the mys­ter­ies of ini­ti­a­tion, I swear by all that is true,” or some­thing similar.

For Ta-Nech we may break it down thus: Ta is the sin­gu­lar, fem­i­nine form for “this or the.” Once again, the par­tic­u­lar spelling of Nech is not to be found on its own, and only con­jec­ture can aid us here. It is of inter­est to note that it sounds very close to the God, Nekht, one of the four­teen names for Ra’s souls, mean­ing “strength.” It is also the root word for Nech­a­bet, who was the vul­ture god­dess most often shown on the dou­ble crown of Egypt, which rep­re­sented the union of upper and lower Egypt. The name itself could be trans­lated as mean­ing “by the wise unit­ing pow­ers” that guide.

The starry spendour that is Nuit, or Nut, is both an eager and desirous request to be shown the night sky, and to be placed therein, as a star “in the com­pany of stars.”

The god, Hadit in the Boulaq trans­la­tion was spelled “Hudit.” By Gar­diner & Gunn as “Behdet”; and in the mod­ern trans­la­tion as “Hehedite.” If we break down the syl­la­bles of the form that Crow­ley chose, we get these var­i­ous mean­ings: Ha is a desert god. Had or hd means “to pun­ish” or “defeat,” or to be “vic­to­ri­ous.” The it means “father.” If we add an “n” to “it” it means the “sun” or the “sun’s disk.” So, I think we begin to see what Crow­ley was try­ing to say. He was invok­ing the light of night and the light of day that wings its way across the heav­ens, to be a part him.

Ra-Hor Khut, was as the Boulaq trans­la­tion tells us, “chief of the gods” who faces Ankh-f-na-khonsu on the stele. Thank­fully, there is a god of Egypt’s his­tory, spelled only in a slightly dif­fer­ent man­ner, as Ra-heru-Khuti. This is a com­pound name of the gods and attrib­utes of Ra, Horus and Khuti. There is only one ref­er­ence with Crowley’s spelling of “Khuit.” She was an ancient female deity from Anthribes that later became directly asso­ci­ated with “Hathor.” It is not sur­pris­ing then, that Crow­ley chose the spelling of a god­dess that was the per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of the great power of nature which was per­pet­u­ally con­ceiv­ing and cre­at­ing. She was “the mother of her father, ” and “the daugh­ter of her son.” Thus, Ra-Hoor-Khuit, was the Father, the son and the Mother, a potent triad in one mag­i­cal for­mula. And after say­ing this all-encompassing power word, what could pos­si­bly be con­veyed but the power of silence, with the sign of silence.

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