Wednesday, 25 December 2013

In the basement...

John Soane had a house or three. He filled them with things. Precious things. He lit the house from a skylight and bounced the light around his houses with mirrors.

The houses were a row.

The multi-house is a labyrinth

It was getting dark
No lights were on

I kept meeting myself coming back/ my own reflection.
I was going round in circles!

The walls are covered in plaster casts and gargoyles
Paintings and prints.

I took the stair down

In the basement I found
The Book of Gates!

Now of all the things I expected to find; statues from Greek temples, Mesopotamian artefacts and stained glass...I did not expect to see The Book


Unless I got on a plane and flew to Cairo
Even then...
I didn't expect...

The Book of Gates is carved onto the sarcophagus of King Seti 1, he who made the peace treaty with the Hittites following the battle of Kadesh (1306 BC)...

It is similar to, and younger than The Twelve Gates (The Amduat)..

Maaaan, you could have knocked me down with a feather!
I'm amazed that it was just there...

The most famous of such books- the travel guides for those about to enter the Underworld- is The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Bardo Thodol. Technically, the Bardo Thodol should be read to the newly deceased as his or her mind dissolves in death.

O child of a good family, listen. Now you are experiencing the Radiance of the Clear Light of Pure Reality. Recognise it. O nobly-born, your intellectual mind is in real nature void, not formed into anything as regards characteristics or colour, naturally void it is the very Reality, the All-Good....

You don''t have to be dead.
'It' being 'pure view'...

The Bado Thodol is an alchemical book, made famous by the Beat poets as a book of liberation.

Liberation from suffering in the after-life is easily confused with ending suffering now! This fault line is key to understanding the terrifying things that happened during the Reformation; when the dead were removed from the living and those who led prayer for them, re-branded as parasitical tricksters, selling blessings and fake passes to the foolish and gullible.

I wish it was untrue but the cult of Liberation has probably got more people killed, maimed and murdered, than any other ideology...more than any religion.

A tectonic catastrophe building under ground.

Oh Holy Dionysos, please take care of your people.

The Book of Gates:
... is the principal guidebook to the netherworld found in 19th and part of the 20th Dynasty tombs of the New Kingdom, though it makes its first appearance to us with the last king of the 18th Dynasty. It was meant to allow the dead pharaoh to navigate his way along the netherworld route together with the sun god, so that his resurrection could be affected. It emphasizes gates with guardian deities who's names must be known in order to pass them. This is actually a very old tradition dating to at least the Book of the Two Ways in the Coffin Texts, where there are seven gates with three keepers at each. Continue...
King Seti had painted on his tomb walls The Book of the Heavenly Cow.
So I would very much have liked to talk to him and asked him as I asked the guardian of the sarcophagus, how much 'in your opinion' was Egyptian mythology and iconography informed by 'Mesopotamian' ideas?

The guardian, an Egyptology used the term 'Sumerians' when he spoke to me...and 'language' when he meant writing.

That made me feel a little sad and sorry that a university education may not be as efficient as reading as many ancient texts as one can find, reading history and looking at maps.

Ultimately The Books: The Twelve Gates and The Book of Gates describe liberation from the mire and darkness of death, through the presence of the divine. The Twelve Gates describes the hell that waits for those who have not followed the correct rules; the rules of right conduct, the rules of right burial. For them await lakes of flame, dismemberment...In the great, primal mound the Green God Osirus brings regeneration to the king

As the ship of the sun navigates the twelve hours of night, the king brings life to the dead as the sun in our world wakes the sleeping from their dreams...

Directions to the house.