Step 3: Passing the River or Gate

“These four pure reed-floats which you set down for Osiris when he ascended to the sky, so that he might ferry over to the firmament with his son Horus beside him so that he might bring him up and cause him to appear as a great god in the firmament – set them down for me!” (Faulkner, 92).

Having reached the sky, the pharaoh must now cross a river or a gate, and possibly both, and also announce his presence to the god Re.

There are several ways the pharaoh can cross the river, however, to accomplish any of them, he must first prove his divinity and his right as pharaoh to cross.  He can request magical reed-floats, previously used by Osiris, to travel across.  Alternatively, in some versions of the text, there is a large boat on the opposite side of the river that the pharaoh has to convince someone to bring over to him using his good name; this is usually either a celestial ferryman or four spirits (Davis, 175).  Usually, whoever ends up ferrying him across also announces his arrival to Re.

The gate that the pharaoh might have to pass through is usually describes as being bolted shut and guarded by a monstrous gate-keeper.  The pharaoh has to follow a specific set of instructions detailed in the Pyramid Texts to get through.  First, he has to announce that he is the “head of the followers of Re”; then, he must not respond to the gate-keepers request for his name, and instead only mention that his successor on earth supports made the preparations for his immortal existence in the tomb (Davis, 172).  Once he has completed this, the pharaoh may pass through the gates and be announced to Re.  After he has been announced and successfully asks Re for acceptance, the pharaoh is welcomed into the Hereafter.


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