Egyptian Duat

The deceased passenger on their ways towards the happy ending of his or her journey had to pass through a dark region which was called Duat. Some souls could also have gone somewhere else, but their journey was typically set up to go through the darkness below the Earth which is seen as water of Duat with the help of certain psychopomps, until they would reach the “Earthly Paradise”.

Duat was divided into 12 areas, one for each hour of the night. Duat’s description is preserved in the Book of Aum-Taut. Once the Sun is setting in the West it has to travel through Duat in order to appear again in the Eeast at dawn. It looks like that Egyptians imitated how the Sun is moving below the Earth as a way to enter into the other world.

Armed with the magic words, amulets and talismans, and convinced that their life was correct, their soul would enter a Solar boat and set off on a journey.

The souls of the dead start a boat trip in the first area that was called NET-RA. The second area is Urnes and this is where Isis and Nephritis appear. The journey continues through the Duat’s third part, NET-NEB-UA-Khepera-AUT. A fourth area Ankh-Khepera is characterised by the fact that the deceased, while passing through the kingdom of Seker, is catching up the curse of the dead ones. In the fifth area, AMENT, the deceased was in the company of seven gods.During passage through the sixth area, METCHET-MU-NEBT-Tuat, the deceased meets five-headed snake Ash-Haru.In the seventh area THEMPHET-ASAR, passengers are meeting a new temptation: whoever correctly pronounce the Isis’ magic words, will get onboard the boat of Ra, otherwise they will not be able to resist the serpent-hrs Nehra. The eighth area is characterised by “secret circles of the gods”; the passengers should correctly say the magical words of snake Mehen and then the gods will show show them where the gates of the city TEBAT-NETERU-S after which this part of Duato was named. In the ninth part of the BEST-ARU-Ankh-Khepera, the traveler joins a group of divine sailors. Cruising continues quieter during the tenth sweep-QA-UTCHEBU. In the eleventh RE-EN-QERERT-APT-Khat deceased continues to travel guided by a star toward the eastern horizon that gradually grow lighter from where it illuminates the surface of the earth. In the twelfth area THEN-Neter, the traveler lands on the Eastern horizon where god Shu accepts him. So that’s the happy ending of the Duat travel.

Some parts of Duato were full of danger, the lake of fire, executioner, monsters in human and animal form and the various evil spirits. On the way to help the deceased ones was a guide (psychopomp) Anubis. The path leads through an underground Thebes, Abydos, Herakleopolis, Memphis and Sais. The gods who rule the areas where the traveler passes can be helpful, but even so the deceased could have easily gone astray there. According to an ancient notation: “If you do not go to the appropriate specific path of the sky, you will not get in there, but into a false heaven.”

The main road leads to the Osiris Court (two Halls of truth). The worst fate awaits those who do not pass the ordeal in the Hall, which was judged by Osiris, and where the heart is weighed against a feather.

Four sons of Horus always appeared in scenes with the trial of Osiris. Osiris also has 42 judicial assistants who corresponds to the number of 42 administrative areas after which Egypt was divided. A man of good behaviour was able to extend further towards the land, which the Egyptians called ” Fields of Auru “, which is shown as a place which pretty much looks like Egypt but better and happier.


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