If you are only using Budge's interpretation, you will remain aloof to the truth being presented by the neter. The true title is not "The Book of the Dead." That is an incorrect interpretation in and of itself. The true title is "The Book of Light Coming Forth By Day."
These were not extrinsic deities to be worshipped by the Kemau, but intrinsic properties of the "spirit" or "energy" of self.
Ra is symbolic to the sun.
Ra Un Nefer's Metu Neter Vols. I and II offer keen insight into the cartouches of Kemet.
Budge acknowledged in his later year's that he was interpreting the Metu Neter from a Judeo-Christian perspective and it created an unsubstantiated bias.
Gerald Massey corrected a lot of Budge's work, but Ra Un Nefer has been able to tap even deeper into the Kemetic Tree of Life.
Here is a brief description of the Tree of Life system:
As it was in the beginning,So shall it be in the end.
The Kamitic Tree of Life
Ra Un Nefer Amen has reclaimed for us some of the core Kamitic spiritual teachings and precepts. The key teachings have been diagrammed in what has come down to us and is known as the Tree of Life (Fig. 1.1).
The Tree of Life is a diagram of the process through which God creates the world, Man, and Man's sojourn in the world. The Tree consists of eleven spheres, numbered from zero to 10. Sphere 0 is at the top, and is depicted as being "above" the tree. It depicts and corresponds to the state of God and of existence before the creation of the thingly, phenomenal world. In the Kamitic tradition, this aspect of God was known variously as Amen, Atum, Aten, Nu, and Nut. As it has come down to the Zulu through the Bonaabakulu Abasekhemu, it corresponds to what they call the Itongo as Bowen has told us.
Amen, or The Source, or The Itongo
The essential state of God or of existence before creation is of an undifferentiated Potential -- the primordial mist. There are two dual principles which characterize the Amen: One is the principle of Mind, the other is the principle of Matter. The principle of Mind is itself dualized into Consciousness and Will. Consciousness represents the passive polarity, and Will the active polarity, of the same essential quality. The principle of Matter may be seen as a continuum, which may more properly be called Energy/Matter, because "matter" in the strict sense is but one extreme of that continuum, being "energy-slowed-down." Implicit in that notion is the fact known to Western science at least since Einstein, namely that energy and matter are mutually transmutable. As reflected at Sphere 0 above the Tree, the essential quality of Mind is a state of bliss, peace, hetep, the Kamitic word for a state of unshakable inner peace. The essential quality of Matter, at Sphere 0, in the state of Amen, is that of pure Potential, which means there is as yet no motion, [Note: The Hindu word nirvana also characterizes the state of Amen, and means, literally, "no motion" (nir = "no" + vana = "motion").] no vibration, no "things", therefore no space, and no time. There is also no light, since light is a vibration, and there is no motion.
Mind/Matter Duality. Parenthetically, and somewhat paradoxically, the energy/matter continuum (i.e. the Matter principle) properly includes Spirit. In the grand dichotomy between Mind and Matter, Spirit falls under the category of Matter rather than of Mind. Spirit is fundamentally energy, and the medium through which Mind expresses itself. Since individuated spirits also are associated with individuated Mind (Consciousness/Will), loose usage of the term "spirit" sometimes, indeed usually, refers also to Mind. Strictly speaking, however, spirit is energy, and thus distinct from Consciousness/Will (hence Mind) which may in various senses manipulate spirit. It follows from this schema, that the grand dichotomy here called that between Mind and Matter, could also properly have been rendered as the dichotomy between Mind and Spirit, for matter, too, as "energy-slowed-down," is but a form of spirit. But such a usage would do too much violence to the common understanding of these matters, and the usage that goes with it. In common usage, we speak of body, mind, and spirit as all being distinct, certainly to the best of the ability of our senses to perceive these distinctions. At the same time, we use the term "spirit" as a common noun to refer to individuated "souls" that have given up the body, but which retain as an essential attribute the attribute of Consciousness/Will, or Mind. Given the potential for ambiguity, I stick with Mind/Matter as being the fundamental dichotomy, but with the clear understanding that Spirit, qua energy, falls under the category Matter. The concept of soul, in relation to that of spirit, is a tricky one, and will be addressed later on, in the context where it is most easily explained.
The peace of hetep is an "inner" peace, because it is a state that is considered still to lie somewhere within Man. It is not to be found in the material (energy/matter) principle of the universe, rather in the mind principle. Therefore it lies within. It is an aspect of existence that is inherently indivisible: when you get to "it," there is nowhere further to "go." I believe Amen has speculated somewhere in his writings that Democritus imperfectly understood this Kamitic concept of "Atum," and sought to apply it to matter. It is from this misconception that Western science found its way to the notion of the atom, as being the smallest indivisible particle of a substance. No sooner was the atom discovered, however, it turned out that it contained yet smaller constituent particles of stuff. There is apparently no end to the proliferation of yet smaller sub-atomic particles. Kamitic spiritual science confidently predicts that the fundamental building block -- in a delicious irony of metaphor -- of matter, is not matter at all, but the energy polarity of the energy/matter principle. The wave/particle duality of photons, and of sub-atomic particles, is a manifestation of the energy/matter principle, namely that energy and matter are mutually transmutable. Be that as it may, the state of hetep, in terms of the mind aspect of Being, is the ultimate state of pure inner peace. In terms of the matter aspect of Being, it is the ultimate state of pure, quiescent, energy-as-potential. Both, together -- quiescent mind, and quiescent matter (energy, really) -- constitute the Kamitic concept of the Creator before creation. This is Amen, and the Source from which all comes. It is also, in the Kamitic spiritual science, the true nature of the hidden God within, which is essentially unconditioned, and which cannot be upset by externals. It is represented at Sphere 0 above the Tree of Life. In the Yoruba tradition, that aspect of God represented by Sphere 0 is called Olodumare. It is also what, as we have seen, the Zulu call the Itongo.
Fig. 1.1: THE KAMITIC TREE OF LIFE
The purpose of creation
If the true nature of God, the Source, is Amen, and is essentially unconditioned and undifferentiated, the question arises why did God create the thingly world of differentiation in which Man dwells, and further, why did he create Man. The Kamitic scripture says of God in the state of Amen: "I was alone; not born were they." Amen (1996) quotes this scripture to explain that God created the world in order to have experience. And It created Man in order to have a vehicle within the world with the same essential qualities as Itself. Man is in this sense created "in the image of God." Further, as Bowen informs us, the Bonaabakulu Abasekhemu teach that Man is on a journey of return to the Source, to the Itongo, to the state of Amen. Man, in his gross, physical aspect, and the thingly world in general, is represented by Sphere 10 at the bottom of the Tree. Sphere 10 thus represents the end-result of creation. Spheres 1 to 9 in-between represent the functional stages of creation, as well as the various aspects of the spiritual being which is also part of Man's nature. Not only does the Tree of Life represent the unfolding of Creation, it represents also the way back, sphere by sphere (or branch by branch), for Man's spiritual return journey.
The functional stages of creation, and the aspects of spirit
Spheres 1 to 9, or the Ennead, in addition to representing the functional stages of creation, also represent archetypal deities which exhibit the qualities most pertinent to the functional stage of creation with which respectively they are identified. At the level of Man, these same archetypal energies find expression as archetypal personality types, of which each of us is in some sense a blend. The Tree of Life is to be understood as but a model of many interpenetrating realities: of deities, of aspects of the psyche, of functional aspects of creation, among others not yet addressed. Each of the spheres of the Tree is described briefly in turn.
Omnipresence/Central Theme. Sphere 1 on the Tree corresponds to God manifest in the world, and is the mirror image of sphere 0 above the tree. That is to say, where Sphere 0 represents God un-manifest, or the "hidden" God, Sphere 1 on the Tree represents God in the world. Sphere 1 represents that highest aspect of Man's spirit which is as yet unawakened in all of us, with the exception of certain adepts or "God-men on earth," such as Jesus, Buddha, and the "Higher Ones" of the Bonaabakulu Abasekhemu. Sphere 1 represents the "Divine Spark" within all of us. The challenge is to raise and establish our individuated Consciousness in the part of Spirit corresponding to Sphere 1. According to the African cosmology, this is a process that takes countless incarnations, but whether knowingly or unknowingly, it is a journey on which we all are embarked. The aspect of Creation and of Spirit corresponding to Sphere 1 on the Tree is called Ausar in the Kamitic tradition. In the Yoruba tradition, it is called Obatala. The defining attribute of God manifest in the world is omnipresence. By extension, the principle of omnipresence is also the principle of the central theme, as that which infuses every aspect of a thing, or reality, hence Ausar and Obatala are the deities which govern the head, and clarity of vision, purpose, etc.
Omniscience/Divine Will. Sphere 2 on the Tree of Life represents the attribute of omniscience. The deity represented by Sphere 2 of the Tree is called Tehuti, sometimes Djehuti, in the Kamitic tradition. As already mentioned, Tehuti was known to the Greeks as Thoth. It is this faculty of all-knowing that forms the basis for all divination, which is a method by which Man may communicate with the deity of the second Sphere -- the Oracle, or the deity through which Ausar speaks. The deity of Sphere 2 may speak to Man through any variety of vehicles, for example, through the toss of coins, as with the I Ching, the drawing of stalks, the toss of bones, the reading of tea leaves, the toss of cowrie shells, and the drawing of cards from a deck. Ra Un Nefer Amen has reclaimed for us the Great Oracle of Tehuti, who speaks, so to say, through cards similar to the Tarot. In the Yoruba pantheon, Orunmila is the deity responsible for all divination (Ifa is related, and is the name given to the system of divination used by the babalawos of the Yoruba, as well as the traditional religion practiced by the Yoruba.) It is through Sphere 2 that the will of God may be made known. In addition to divination systems, the omniscience faculty of the Creator may be made manifest through living sages and adepts who have been able through spiritual cultivation or through Divine assistance, to establish their Consciousness at the part of Spirit represented by Sphere 2 on the Tree.
It also happens in African religious systems that a deity may "possess" an initiate. Under such possession, the initiate's Consciousness is displaced, and the Consciousness of the deity "takes over" the initiate's bodily vehicle. In that state, the deity is able to speak to those who seek or require counsel.
Omnipotence/The power of creation. Sphere 3 of the Tree represents the omnipotence aspect of the Creator. If it is out of Sphere 2 that Ausar expresses the faculty of all-knowing, it is out of Sphere 3 that Ausar brings into being that which is Willed out of Sphere 2. The deity represented by Sphere 3 of the Tree was called Sekert by the Kamau, and is called Obaluaye in the Yoruba tradition. The Kamitic spiritual science holds that creation is brought about by Word, invocation, or vibration. Thus Sphere 3 also represents words of power, or mantra. These were called hekau (singular: heka) by the Kamau. The original Godly vibration which created the (our) world was said to be aung. That initial Godly word of vibration was emitted from that aspect of the Creator represented by Sphere 3. The Kamitic scripture has God saying: "I brought into my mouth my own name, that is to say, a word of power, and I, even I, came into being in the form of things which came into being, and I came in the forms of the Creator." Since creation of the thingly universe brings into being structure, also limitation by inference, Sekert and Obaluaye are identified with the foundations of things. One calls on Sekert or Obaluaye to help establish firm and enduring foundations. At the same time, since nothing lasts forever in the thingly world, Sekert and Obaluaye are also identified with cycles, and since no new cycle begins unless an old one has died, Sekert and Obaluaye are also identified as much with death as with creation. But this is not as morbid as it may seem to the Western mind, for within the African cosmology, death is not seen as final, rather as transition. At any rate, Sekert and Obaluaye preside over funerals and cemeteries, and the skull is one of their totems.
Divine Law/Truth, Harmony, the interdependence of all things. Sphere 4 of the Tree of Life represents that aspect of the Creator corresponding to the laws of existence for the things of creation. This is Divine Law. In the Kamitic tradition, the deity represented by this Sphere is known as Maat. In the Yoruba pantheon she is known as Aje Chagullia. The laws for which Maat is the expression govern both aspects of mind (Consciousness/Will), as well as aspects of matter (Energy/Matter). Thus Maat governs the principles of Divine Truth, Love, Justice, Balance, Harmony, Inter-dependence of all things, etc., as well as the laws of physics and of all energy/matter phenomena, which latter includes the laws governing spiritual phenomena. It is the feather of Maat that is used to weigh the heart at Judgement day.
Divine Law Enforcement. Sphere 5 of the Tree represents that aspect of Spirit from which Divine Law is "enforced." In the Kamitic tradition, the deity represented by this Sphere is known as Herukhuti. In the Yoruba, he is known as Ogun. The wrath of God (punishment) is exercised through this faculty, as is the love of God in its protective aspect. There is a balancing logic at work here. There is no law without means of enforcement, therefore Herukhuti is needed to complement Maat.
Man's Will. Sphere 6 of the Tree represents that aspect of Spirit from which Man's Will is exercised. It is in the exercise of Free Will that the divine aspect of Man finds expression. It is important though to point out that Man's Will is distinct from God's Will, which finds expression out of Sphere 2. For Man to bring her Will into alignment with God's will, therefore, it is necessary for Man to consult or otherwise be guided by, the Sage, or the Oracular faculty represented by Sphere 2. The deity represented by Sphere 6 was known to the Kamau as Heru, often symbolized by the hawk wearing the crown of upper and lower Egypt. No doubt the word "hero" derives from the Kamitic name for this deity, and came into the English language via the Greeks. It is cognate also to the Greek word helios for the sun, as well as Horus, the word by which Heru was known to the Greeks. Horus in turn is cognate to "horizon" for the image of Heru is of the sun on the horizon, poised between heaven and the earth. Likewise, in the Tree of Life, Sphere 6 is at its geometric center, poised between the divine faculties already discussed, up above, and the more mundane faculties now to follow, down below. Heru is key to the Ausarian resurrection metaphor, wherein he is seen as the son, the hero figure, who reclaims his father's throne which has been usurped by Ausar's evil brother Set. Heru re-establishes the kingdom of God both within and without, by aligning his will, Man's free will, with God's will. In the Yoruba pantheon, Shango is the deity which exemplifies the energies represented by Sphere 6 of the Tree.
Joy, Imagination, the Libido, Beauty. Sphere 7 of the Tree represents the part of Spirit that governs joy and the imagination. She is known as Het-Heru (House of Heru) in the Kamitic tradition, and Oshun in the Yoruba. It is a congregative faculty, meaning that, among other things, it is concerned with putting things together for beautiful or pleasing artistic effect. The Greeks knew this aspect of Spirit by the name Aphrodite. The Romans called her Venus, and the Babylonians called her Ishtar. The Kamau recognized that that which manifests is that which has been cultivated by the imagination. It is in this sense that Heru (the Will and its realization) is related to Het-Heru (the "house" of Heru or the place where the will is gestated -- the imagination). The Het-Heru faculty is intimately connected with that which the Kamau called Ra or life-force, and what is known as Chi to the Chinese, Kundalini to the Hindus, and ngolo (Fu-Kiau, 1991) to the Kongo people of Central Africa.
Logic, Intellect, Belief, Communication. Sphere 8 of the Tree of Life represents the part of Spirit that governs logic and the intellect. The corresponding deity was known to the Kamau as Sebek, and is known to the Yoruba as Esu-Elegba. Among the Akan, Nana Sankofa would be the deity that most closely exemplifies the energies and faculties associated with Sphere 8. To the Greeks, this deity was known as Hermes, and to the Romans, he was known as Mercury. Where Het-Heru at Sphere 7 is congregative, Sebek at Sphere 8 is segregative. Where Het-Heru puts things together in beautiful, harmonious arrangements, Sebek takes things apart and puts them in logical order or relationship. He takes thoughts and orders them into words, one syllable at a time. He governs syllogistic logic, and all manner of information. He is, like the dog which is his totem, clever, but not wise. He represents an important faculty of spirit, which is to ease the way through being clever, but cleverness needs to be guided by wisdom, in almost exactly the same way in which syllogistic logic is only as useful as the premises on which it is based, while logic, per se, cannot establish the truth of the premises from which formal syllogistic argument proceeds. Where Het-Heru governs the imagination, Sebek governs belief. That which we nurture in the imagination, good and bad, tends ultimately to manifest. And that which we believe is what we are most inclined to entertain in our imagination. Moreover, we tend to live that which we believe. Sebek therefore is seen as the "messenger of the Gods", the "opener of the way," the "guardian of the cross-roads," etc., for it is right belief (Sphere 8) that opens the way to right knowledge (Sphere 2) and to the alignment of Man's will with divine will, and therefore "good fortune." Wrong belief, on the other hand, will take us down the wrong road at every cross-road, to "ill fortune", "bad luck," frustration and continual obstacles.
Soul, Memory, Learning, Receptivity, Devotion, Nurturing. Sphere 9 on the Tree of Life represents the part of Spirit with which we most identify, as giving us our respective and distinct identities as individuated spiritual entities. The "soul"-memory of the individual resides at the part of spirit represented by Sphere 9. The "soul" itself, in this conception, is nothing but the individuated duality of consciousness and spirit (mind and matter) of which each of us is composed. While the soul is conceptually distinct from the soul-memory, they are inextricably linked, for it is the content of the soul memory, over the many lifetimes through which the soul passes, inhabiting many bodily forms as it does so, that allows us to distinguish one soul from another. The soul memory may be conceived of as residing at Sphere 9, in the sense that it is an aspect of spirit -- in the grand dichotomy between mind and matter, the soul memory is classed as matter. The soul on the other hand is an abstraction, in exactly the way identity is an abstraction, and may be seen as referencing an individual's entirety, namely her individuated mind, body, all aspects of her spirit, and entire soul history -- I say soul history to help convey the idea, but to be more precise, what I really mean transcends space/time and other dimensions, and so embraces what we call "future" as well. The soul was called Ka by the Kamau, and it is this root word from which the "Ka" in Kabala derives. It has been linked etymologically also to the nkra (= soul) in the Twi language of the Akan people of Ghana. Everything that happens to an individual, in the present or past lifetimes, is registered indiscriminately in the soul memory -- the portion of spirit -- represented by Sphere 9. Much of it goes into the "unconscious" or the "subconscious" (which terms, by the way, are pseudo-scientific ways of making reference to spirit, as we are here describing it, without simply coming out and saying so). There it takes shape as a pattern of energy organization of the spirit that manifests over and over again in various aspects of our lives. The "pattern of energy organization" stored at Sphere 9 of the Spirit is in a sense programmed by Sebek (belief), Het-Heru (imagination), and Heru (will), the faculties of the Spheres immediately above it in the Tree. And it is through Sphere 9 that the programmed "personality" of the individual -- her "soul" -- finds ultimate expression. It is also from Sphere 9, and and the re-programming of that part of Spirit which it represents, that the soul begins its metaphorical upward journey back up the Tree to re-identify with its true Higher Self at Sphere 1 -- to establish the soul's consciousness at the part of its spirit represented by Sphere 1, what the Kamau called "to realize Ausar" and to live and insperience the oneness of all Creation. That was the Kamitic conception of resurrection.
The deity corresponding to Sphere 9 was known by the Kamau as Auset, or Isis. In the Yoruba pantheon, she is known as Yemoja. In the Akan system, she is known as Nana Esi. In other West African systems she is known as Mami Wata, or the mother of the waters, since she governs large bodies of water, that is, the oceans. In the Christian faith she would correspond most closely to Mary, or the Madonna. She governs not only total soul recall, to which access may be gained through trance, but also the nurturing qualities of the mother. She is devotion, and humility. She is the receptive quality, the archetypal female energy.
Body, Flesh and Blood and Animal Senses, Motion and Emotion. Sphere 10 of the Tree of Life represents the part of Spirit that is flesh and blood, the physical body, along with the electro-magnetic "body" or energy-field which immediately surrounds it, and which is the animating spirit (energy-field) that "drives" the physical bodily "vehicle." The "deity" corresponding to Sphere 10 was called Geb by the Kamau, and is known as Ile by the Yoruba. The planetary correspondence of this deity is the earth itself. It is at the aspect of creation represented by Sphere 10 that the individuation process, begun with the first Godly word of vibration, emerges finally as that part of reality which is tangible and visible. Sphere 10 represents the physical body, flesh and blood. To the Kamau, Geb was the Erpau Neter, meaning literally the inheritor of God, and meaning more properly that the physical body inherits the qualities and attributes of all the deities: "as above, so below." That is, the physical body "inherits" or reflects the patterns of energy organization already present in the aspects of spirit represented by Spheres 9 to 1. Every major organ or organ system in the body is tied to or governed by an aspect of spirit or deity represented by Spheres 9 to 1 of the Tree. The patterns of energy organization from Spheres 9 to 1 are imperceivable to the physical senses of the bodily vehicle represented by Sphere 10. That the aspects of spirit represented by Spheres 9 to 1 are imperceivable to the physical senses does not however make them less real. It is these aspects of spirit, seen (or rather, not seen) from the vantage point of the bodily vehicle, that Western psychologists have come to call the "unconscious". it is a concept that was known to and elaborated by the ancient Kamau thousands of years ago, moreover within a holistic cosmology that tied everything back, straightforwardly and unselfconsciously, to God, spirit, and the very purpose of creation.
Body, Mind and Spirit? As previously mentioned, the bodily vehicle is classed as an extreme polarity of the energy/matter continuum. Spirit, qua energy -- or pattern of energy organization -- also belongs to the same energy/matter continuum, but is of opposite polarity to body, or matter. Mind, the quality for which Consciousness and Will are opposite polarities, is, strictly speaking, distinct from Spirit, qua energy/matter; but as mind requires spirit as the medium through which effect is given to its Will, and even through which Consciousness merely be, it has become common practice in loose usage to connote mind also when we use the word "spirit". And in an irony of common usage, even though the body properly belongs with spirit on the Matter side of the grand Mind/Matter dichotomy, common use of the term spirit excludes the body while including mind. The problem exists in the English language because of cultural ignorance about cosmological matters; I am told that in other languages, notably Sanskrit and possibly the Bantu language family, clarity on these matters is "hard-wired" into the language in a way exactly opposite to that in which confusion is "hard-wired" into the English language on these matters.
To summarize, the Tree of Life is a diagram of the process through which God creates the world, Man, and Man's sojourn in the world (Amen, 1996: 33). God created the world to have experience, that is, to go from a pre-creation state of undifferentiated existence -- "I was alone; not born were they" -- to a state of differentiation. All things are aspects of God's substance and consciousness -- there is unity in the diversity of God's creation:
I brought into my mouth my own name, that is to say, a word of power, and I, even I, came into being in the form of things which came into being, and I came in the forms of the creator." The Tree of Life classifies the world starting at the transcending state of the unmanifest, hidden God (Amen, Atum, Aten, Nu, Nut) represented by Sphere 0 above the Tree, the manifested aspect of God represented by Sphere 1, and the forms in which the creator came into the world distributed through Spheres 2 to 10. God creates a vehicle -- Man -- through which It can come into the world as one of its own creations that It may experience Itself as the Creator. To experience itself as the Creator, God grants to Man free will. (Any other being which possesses free will, likewise would be the functional equivalent of Man on this conception.) It is precisely because Man has free will that she is free to break Divine Law and/or frustrate Divine Will... that is, do evil, by definition. God remains submerged in the "unconscious," directing unconscious activities (physiological and mental) awaiting the person's awakening and developing of the higher divisions of Spirit, and the alignment of the person's will with Divine will. Man's earthly experience is thus not for her own sake, but for the sake of the Divine Plan. Earthly existence serves the purpose of providing difficulties that force out the divine powers within, or in other words, stimulate the process by which the individuated soul seeks to re-establish its Consciousness at higher levels of the Tree of Life.
The metaphor of the Tree of Life is a powerful one that enables us to take a fresh look at a number of subjects, among others the nature of intelligence, and by extension the race/IQ debate, and the true nature of the relation between science and religion.