Saturday, April 14, 2012

Confessions 11-15

Confession 11: O He-of-the-Cavern who came forth from the West, I have not fornicated with the fornicator.

In Egypt this was different than we might expect. Marriage was considered not by a service but by declaring love or the intent to be together to the populace/family. This could also be a parent or set of parents setting up an arranged marriage. In Ancient Egyptian terms fornication here refers to what we would call cheating on a marriage, an affair or a similar act. There are many additional laws governing this confession. For example, a woman could nullify a marriage simply by stating that her husband was not providing for her. (In some cases even if the thing he was not providing was sex.) Divorce also did not happen in the long drawn out manner it does in modern times. From the few records I have read on the matter (primary source stuff) apparently speaking it to those involved was enough.

Ok enough on that. I will try to get a coherent post on marriage practices in the future. For now let us move on to who this confession is spoken to. From the west can refer to either one who is rising from the dead(walking out of the Duat) or someone who rules the desert. More than likely this is Set. He hid out in a cavern and he is also associated in some mythology with fornication and/or misdeeds. 

Confession 12: O He-Whose-Face-is-Behind-Him who came forth from his hole, I have not caused anyone to weep.
This is what it sounds like. It means that a follower has not purposefully said or done things with the intention of hurting others.. of making them weep. As to who, this is one that eludes me as well. I have to make a guess because while there have been studies of the Book of the Dead I have yet to find a source that tries to name the assessors. This research has been all mine. Coming forth from the hole is a term I have seen in reference to the mound of creation. The hole could refer to where Nun came from at the beginning of the world. I don't really know what it means that his face is behind him. Another possibility is Hra-f-ha-f a god who steers the boat of Ra who is often depicted looking over his shoulder.

The Gayer-Anderson Cat at the British Museum.

Confession 13: O Bast coming forth from the secret place, I have not eaten my heart.
This time they were nice enough to give us the goddess. Her secret place is likely her temple at Per-Bast. There are two possible translations of eating the heart. The first, and more straightforward one, is that committing offense against Ma'at's law. This is probably not the case after reading the next confession. More likely it refers to being false in appearance, attitude or personality. The heart, ab, is the center of good and evil thoughts and weighed in judgement. Eating your heart would be destroying it in the way Ammut would and that would be infecting it with evil.

Confession 14.O Hot-Legs who came forth at twilight, I have not transgressed.
I am again not sure who "Hot Legs" is aside from some reference to pin-ups that I am sure the Egyptians knew nothing about. However, the description does suggest they come from night time or dusk. It could be Nut or Hathor who are both supposed to be images of beauty and are associated with twilight times. Aside from that I am not sure who "Hot Legs" might be. One who walks in fire at night? Could be. The second part is much more clear. I have not transgressed refers to laws. These could be the laws of Ma'at, the government or the society. It isn't specific in what the transgression is against but the glyph choice suggests it is related to law. 

Confession15. O He-Who-is-Blood who came forth from the place of slaughter, I have not grain-profiteering.

Grain profiteering is gaining monetary profits by cheating others. Again, this is about treating others unfairly for personal gain. This seems to refer directly to cheating people out of money though deceit or unethical practices.In the modern scheme of things I would consider this any sort of cheating others for profit. So, overcharging for a service or product, misrepresenting product or any number of modern schemes that involve getting more money that the sold item or service is worth.

I have always associated "He who is Blood" to either be Horus, where blood is a reference to bloodline, or Set as the one in charge of the military. Either god would be quite appropriate as Horus is a god of vengeance and taking action against wrongs. Set on the other hand is sometimes associated with greed and deceit. Like many of these I need to do much more research on the references before I can be definitive on which god it might be.

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