Step 2: Ascension

“I will ascend to the sky to you, O Re, for my race is that of falcons, my wings are those of ducks, my talons are the fangs of Him of the Cerastes-Mountain” (Faulkner, 92)

Once the pharaoh was prepared and purified, he could start his ascent into the Hereafter.  According to various versions of the Pyramid Texts, there are multiple ways for the pharaoh to get up to the celestial realm.  One method is using a physical device to climb up, such as a ladder.  Another method is the pharaoh using his godly powers to transform himself into another being in order to ascend, such as transforming himself into a bird so he can fly up. Finally, the pharaoh might transmit his life-essence up to the sky through a force outside of himself, for example in a magical fiery blaze or being guided by Nūt’s sandals (Davis, 167).

Depending on his method of ascension, the pharaoh might run into an obstacle or two on the way.  Along his ascension, he has to specifically ask for various deities to let him pass, such as the “daughter of Anubis, who is at the windows of the sky, the companion of Thoth, who is the uprights of the ladder” (Faulker, 93). Specifically, the bull of Re often appears to challenge the pharaoh before he can me let through, asking him if he is a “pure Westerner” before he can grant him access (Faulker, 93).  The pharaoh must prove his pureness before gaining completing his ascension.


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