Chapter 4: The Stairway to Heaven

…Having prepared the Pharaoh for his journey, the Shem priests now intone the gods to open for the king a path and a gateway. The divine messenger has arrived on the other side of the false door, ready to take the Pharaoh through the stone wall and launch him on his journey.

…Crossing the Lake of Reeds;

He descends into the boat, like Ra,
on the shores of the Winding Watercourse.
The king rows in the Hanbu-boat;
He takes the helm toward the
Plain of "The Two that Bring Closer The Heavens,"
in the land beginning from the Lake of Reeds.

…Leaving the land of Horus… The eastward place which he seeks to reach – though under the aegis of Ra – "is in the region of Seth." His goal is a mountainous area, the Mountains of the East… "the two mountains which stand in awe of Seth."

…Finally, the guards of the Land of Seth let the king proceed toward a mountain pass. The king’s sponsors make sure that he realizes the import of the moment:

Thou are now on the way to the high places
In the land of Seth.
In the land of Seth
Thou will be set in the high places,
On that high Tree of the Eastern Sky
On which the gods sit.

…The king has arrived at the Duat.

…The Duat was conceived as a completely enclosed Circle of the Gods, at the head-point of which there was an opening to the skies (symbolized by the goddess Nut) through which the Imperishable Star (symbolized by the Celestial Disk) could be reached.

…The Duat was divided into twelve divisions, variably described as fields, plains, walled circles, caverns or halls, beginning above ground and continuing underground. It took the departed king twelve hours to journey through this enchanted and awesome realm.

Many details are given in the book as the king passes through the first division. At the end of which he "encounters other companies of gods." "Come in peace," they say. He has arrived at the second division.

…Aided by the gods, the king passes safely through the second division and in the Third Hour arrives at Net-Asar the "Stream of Osiris." Similar in size to the second division, this third division is inhabited by "The Fighters." It is there that the four gods, who are in charge of the four cardinal points of the compass, are stationed.

…The pictorial description which accompanied the hieroglyphic texts surprisingly showed the Stream of Osiris as meandering its way from an agricultural area, through a chain of mountains, to where the stream divided into tributaries. There, watched by the legendary Phoenix birds, the Stairway to Heaven was situated; there, the Celestial Boat of Ra depicted as sitting atop of a mountain, or rising heavenward upon stream of fire.

…Here, the pace of prayers and Utterances increases again, the king invokes the "magical protectors," that this man of Earth may enter the Neter-Khert unmolested. The king is nearing the heart of the Duat; he is near the Amen-Ta, the "Hidden Place…"

May be given to me my Name
in the Great House of Two;
May in the House of Fire
my Name be granted.
In the night of computing years,
and of telling the months,
may I be a Divine Being,
may I sit at the east side of Heaven.
Let the god advance me from behind,
everything in his Name.

The king is within sight of the "Mountain of Light."

He has reached the STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN.

…The Pyramid Texts said of the place that it was the "stairway in order to reach the heights." Its stairs were described as "the stairs to the sky, which are laid down for the king, that he may ascend thereon to the heavens." The hieroglyphic pictograph for the Stairway to Heaven was sometimes a single stairway (which was also cast in gold and worn as a charm), or more often a double stairway, as a step pyramid. This Stairway to Heaven was constructed by the gods of the city of An – the location of the principle temple of Ra – so that they, the gods, could be "united with the Above."

…The king’s goal is the Celestial Ladder, an Ascender which would actually carry him aloft. But to reach it in the House of Fire, The Great House of Two, he must enter the Amen-Ta the Hidden Land of Seker, God of the Wilderness.

…When Ra himself had arrived at this entrance to the Hidden Place, "he performed the designs" – followed the procedures – "of the gods who are therein by means of his voice, without seeing them." But can the king’s voice alone achieve for him admission? The texts remind the challenger that only "he who knoweth the plan of the hidden shaftways which are in the Land of Seker," shall have the ability to journey through the Place of Underground Passages and eat the bread of the gods.

…Once again the king offers his credentials. "I am the Bull, a son of the ancestors of Osiris," he announces. Then the gods who sponsor him, pronounce in his behalf the crucial words of admission:

Admittance is not refused thee
At the gate of the Duat;
The folding doors of the Mountain of Light
Are opened to thee;
The bolts open to thee of themselves.
Thou treadest the Hall of the Two Truths;
The god who is in it greets thee.

…The Pharaoh was admitted into the subterranean world:

The mouth of the earth opens for thee, the eastern door of heaven is open for thee," the gods of the Duat announce to the king. He is reassured that though he enters the mouth of the earth, it is indeed the Gateway to Heaven, the coveted eastern door.

…The journey in the fourth and following Hours leads the king through caverns and tunnels where gods of diverse functions are sometimes seen, sometimes only heard….

…Mystified and terrified, the king moves on, toward "the pillars that reach the Heaven."

…The gods seen along the way are mostly organized in groups of twelve, and bear such epithets as "Gods of the Mountain," "Gods of the Mountain of the Hidden Land," or "The Holders of the Time of Life in the Hidden Land."

…The drawings that accompanied some of the ancient texts provide identification of these gods through the different scepters held by them, their particular headgear, or by depicting their animal attributes – hawk-headed, jakal-headed, lion-headed. Serpents also make an appearance, representing subterranean guards or servants of the gods in the Hidden Land.

After reading The Stairway to Heaven so far, those, like myself, who have read The Twelfth Planet, would have already been reminded of the procedures of the original "gods" Anu, Enlil, Enki and the desire of Man to Ascend to Heaven’s abode without "testing death." For these gods enjoyed long (eternal) life, and possessed the "Fountain of Youth."

The graphics in the book speak along Mr. Sitchin’s words, I recommend then the book, it is a must to view and read, to totally appreciate the sober meanings.

There are also beautiful recollections of verses about the journey. As the King (Pepi) continues his way down…

…The king sees "faceless gods" – gods whose faces cannot be seen. Offended or simply curious, he pleads with them:

Uncover your faces,
take off your head coverings,
when ye meet me;
For, behold, I [too] am a mighty god
come to be among you.

…But they do not heed his plea to show their faces…"

…Spiraling his way down, the king passes through a door and finds himself on the third, lowest level. He enters an antechamber which bears the emblem of the Celestial Disk, and is greeted by the god who is "The messenger of Heaven" and a goddess who wears the feathered emblem of Shu, "he who rested the sky upon the Stairway to Heaven" as called for by the formula in the Book of the Dead, the king proclaims:

two children of Shu!
children of the Place of the Horizon …
May I ascend?
May I journey forth like Osiris?

…The answer must be positive, for the king is admitted by them…

…In the Fifth Hour the Pharaoh reaches the deepest subterranean parts which are the secret ways of Seker."

It is here that the Pharaoh although not being able to see Seker, "the drawings depict the god as a hawk-headed person, standing upon a serpent and holding two wings within a completely enclosed oval structure, deep underground, guarded by two sphinxes."

…The king hears coming from it (the chamber) "a mighty noise, like that heard in the heights of the heavens when they are disturbed by a storm…"

Eventually, after much important symbolism is explained by Mr. Sitchin, the king is finally accepted to proceed:

…Speaking for the Lord of the Duat, the goddess whose head only was seen, announced to the Pharaoh the favorable decision: "Come in peace to the Duat … advance in thy boat on the road which is in the earth." Naming herself Ament (the female Hidden One), she added: "Ament calls to thee, so that thou mayest go forward in the sky, as the Great One who is in the Horizon."

…Passing the test, not dying a second time, the king was born again…

…He rejoins his boat or sled; it is accompanied by a procession of gods; one of them holds the emblem of the Tree of Life. The King has been found worthy of Afterlife.

…Leaving the zone of Seker, the king enters the sixth division, associated with Osiris

Jakal-headed gods "Who Open the Ways" invite the king to take a refreshing dip in the subterranean pool or Lake of Life, as the Great God himself had done when he passed here before.

…The king’s boat is towed by gods clad in leopard skins, just as the Shem priests who performed the Opening of the Mouth ceremonies were clad.

…Is the king nearing the Opening or Mouth of the Mountain?

…As the king passes through a guarded gate to the seventh division, the gods and the surroundings lose their "underground" aspects and begin to assume celestial affiliations.

…In this division, there are also present two companies of gods associated with the Ben-ben the mysterious object of Ra that was kept at this temple in the city of An (Heliopolis).

…The king has indeed arrived in parts of the Duat associated with An, after whom Heliopolis was named. In the Ninth Hour, he sees the resting place or the twelve "Divine Rowers of the Boat of Ra," they who operate Ra’s celestial "Boat of Millions of Years." In the Tenth Hour, passing through a gate, the king enters a place astir with activity. The task of the gods there is to provide Flame and Fire to the boat of Ra.

…Passing from the tenth to the eleventh division the affinity to the heavens rapidly increases. Gods bear the Celestial Disk and star emblems. There are eight goddesses with star emblems "who have come from the abode of Ra." The king sees the "Star Lady" and the "Star Lord" and gods whose task it is to provide "power for emerging" from the Duat, to make the object of Ra advance to the Hidden House in the Upper Heavens.

The king now must "shed the skin" and emerge "in the form of a rejuvenated Ra." He must wear other garments.

…The illustrations in the ancient texts depict here a group of gods dressed in unusual garb, like tightly fitting overalls adorned with circular collar bands.

…Having been properly equipped, the king is led to an opening in the corner of a semi-circular wall. He passes the hidden door. Now he moves within a tunnel "1300 cubits long called Dawn at the End." He reaches a vestibule, the emblems of the Winged Disk are seen everywhere. He encounters goddesses "who shed light upon the road of Ra," and a magical scepter representing "Seth, the Watcher."

…The gods explain to the awed king:

This cavern is the broad hall of Osiris
Wherein the wind is brought;
The north wind, refreshing,
Will raise thee, O king, as Osiris.

…It is now the twelfth division, the final Hour of the king’s subterranean journey… The point which he has reached is called "Mountain of the Ascent of Ra."

…He has reached an object which is called "The Ascender to the Sky."

…The Ascender or Divine Ladder was not a common ladder.

…Illustrations to the Book of the Dead showed such a Divine Ladder – sometimes with an Ankh ("Life") sign symbolically reaching toward the Celestial Disk in the heavens – in the shape of a high tower with a superstructure

…The Ascender was operated by four falcon-men, "Children of Horus" the Falcon-god, who were the sailors of the boat of Ra

…The king’s prayer to be given Everlastingness, a "Name," a Divine Ladder, has been granted. He is about to begin his actual ascent to the Heavens.

…Though he requires only one Divine Ladder for himself, not one but two Ascenders are raised together. Both the "Eye of Ra" and the "Eye of Horus" are prepared and put into position, one on the "wing of Thoth" and the other on the "wing of Seth." To the puzzled king, the gods explain that the second boat is for the "son of Aten," a god descended of the Winged Disk – perhaps the god to whom the king had spoken in the "equipping chamber."

…The "Eye" or "boat" into which the king steps in is 770 cubits (circa 1000 feet) long.

…The magical moment has arrived. There are only two more doors to be opened, and the king – as Ra and Osiris had done before – will emerge triumphantly from the Duat and his boat will float in the Celestial Waters.

…And suddenly "the double doors to heaven are opened!" The texts break out in ecstatic pronouncements:

The Door to Heaven is open!
The Door of Earth is open!
The aperture of the celestial windows is open!
The Stairway to Heaven is open;
The Steps of Light are revealed…
The double Doors to Heaven are open;
The double Doors of Khebhu are open
for Horus of the east,
at daybreak.

The sky-god
has strengthened the radiance for the king
that the king may lift himself to Heaven
like the Eye of Ra.
The king is in this Eye of Horus,
where the command of the gods is heard.

…The "Eye of Horus" begins to change hues: first it is blue, then it is red.

…There are excitement and much activity all around

…The gods command to be silent….

…The silence is broken, now there are sound of fury, roaring and quaking:

The Heaven speaks, the Earth quakes;
The Earth trembles;
The two districts of the gods shout;
The ground is come apart …
When the king ascends to heaven
when he ferries over the vault (to Heaven) …

…Then the "two mountains divide," and there is a lift-off into a cloudy sky of dawn from which the stars of night are gone…

…The "Bull of Heaven" ("whose belly is full of magic") rises from the "Isle of Flame." Then the agitation ceases, and the king is aloft – "dawning as a falcon."

…Still sitting between "these two companions who voyage over the sky," the king soars toward the eastern horizon, far far away in the heaven. His destination is the Aten the Winged Disk, which is also called the Imperishable Star:

Ra of the Aten,
Thy son has come to thee;
Pepi comes to thee;
Let him ascend to thee;
Enfold him in thy embrace.

The celestial journey is to last eight days… the king will be summoned by Ra… Ra himself shall await for the king on the Imperishable Star

…’He Who Knows the Place’ comes, say the gods.

…Now there is one more detail left to accomplish. In the company of "Horus of the Duat," described as "the great green divine falcon," the king sets out to find the Tree of Life in the Midst of the Place of Offering.

…This king Pepi goes to the Field of Life, the birthplace of Ra in the heavens. He finds Kebehet approaching him with these four jars with which she refreshes the heart of the Great God on the day when he awakes. She refreshes the heart of this king Pepi therewith to Life.

…Mission achieved… the King has ascended the Stairway to Heaven, he has reached the Imperishable Star; "his lifetime is eternity, its limit everlastingness."

Continue to Chapter 5: The Gods Who Came to Planet Earth


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