Show notes for Episode 23 coming soon. This week we take a deep and puzzling dive into the Egyptian underworld. Complicated, contradictory, confusing, and made of ideas hoarded over 2000 years, none of this will make a lick of sense. Promise.
Too excited to wait for drinks to be served, Jacob dives directly into hell news with Phil Teppitt’s “Mad God” trailer, a disturbing stop motion feature film that was made in bits and pieces over 30 years and given its final push across the finish line by Kickstarter. It looks amazing and depraved, and while its United States premiere will be in Austin, we may have to wait a bit on this one. Unfortunately! Phil Teppitt is an animation legend, and this film is loaded with hellish imagery and we’ve seen a few occult references in it already.
A fair bit of this episode started with, or like Ra rises and sets, in the fullness of time, comes back to, an article from The Sun, “Ancient Egyptian coffin contains ‘oldest map of the underworld’ inscribed 4000 years ago.” Though Ancient Egypt Online has a more scholarly article on the same text in their treatment of “The Book of Two Ways,” which has a lot more detail on what you might expect on your own personal death journey.
I’m not sure we really covered this in depth…given the complexity of the subject and how much we wander, I doubt it! “Book” is something of a misnomer, the Book of Two Ways was painted on the interior of a coffin, part of a family of works called “coffin texts.” Likewise the famous Book of the Dead is a “pyramid text,” at least at first pained on the inside of a pyramid. This one was made around 2100 BCE, so Egypt’s funerary-industrial complex would have been rolling for a good 500 years by this point, but the Sun says this is the oldest coffin text found.
Never click on the mummy juice.
At best, you’ll end up in a tutorial on how to make juice boxes fun and appealing for your kid’s lunches, like this article on “Mummy Juice Boxes” from “Cooking Mamas.” At worst, you’ll get to any number of articles on the strange red liquid in a 2000-year-old black sarcophagus. One of the better articles on the subject was published in Ripley’s Believe it Or Not weird news, which has an awful picture of the three rotting skeletons floating in red gunk, and the bizarre and almost entirely likely ironic petition to allow people to drink the red horrible liquid…probably sewage…to gain supernatural powers. “most likely in the form of a carbonated high caffeine energy drink.” The red liquid is probably sewage. I don’t think any of the articles really adds anything to Ripley’s coverage, although some of the pictures floating around are more graphic, but Insider.com floats the idea of pairing red mummy goo with a 3200-year-old poisonous Egyptian cheese. Good call there. There’s also an online petition to consume THAT, and we at the Dispatchist think that no matter how weird the mythology of Hell can get, the real world is much weirder.
If you want to come down after your mummy juice party, Jamin recommends this lovely and not-foul recipe for Tomato, Peach, and Avocado Bruschetta, from Love and Lemons.
The Cannibal Hymn
This text was sort of anthologized in some of the pyramid texts of the Old Kingdom, but seems to have come from something older and a bit darker. It describes the pharoah – king Unis – as something like a butcher that hunts and eats the gods. Experience Ancient Egypt has a translation and some informal commentary. High points:
Shesmu cuts them up for king Unis
And cooks for him a portion of them
In his evening kettles (or ‘as his evening kettles = meal’).
King Unis is he who eats their charms,
And devours their glorious ones (souls).
Their great ones are for his morning portion,
Their middle(-sized) ones are for his evening portion,
Their little ones are for his night portion.
Their old men and their old women are for his incense-burning.
It is the ‘Great-Ones-North-of-the-Sky’
Who set for him the fire to the kettles containing them,
With the legs of their oldest ones (as fuel).
The ‘Dwellers-in-the-Sky’ revolve for king Unis (in his service).
The kettles are replenished for him with the legs of their women.
He has encircled all the Two Skies (corresponding to the Two Lands),
He has revolved about the two regions.
King Unis is the ‘Great Mighty-One’
Who overpowers the ‘Mighty Ones’
Sir Ernest Alfred Wallis Budge
Mr. Budge, 1857-1934, was a phenomenally prolific author/Egyptologist, with scads of translations and references to his name. Sadly (I suppose?) he’s somewhat obsolete now, as the style at the time of his writing blurred opinion and fact, making it very hard to tell what’s theoretical and actual. He was apparently something of an occultist, involved in the ghost society and such, and I think that makes his works on ancient religion a bit more lively, though see above. We leaned heavily on his detailed and puzzling The Egyptian Heaven and Hell in this episode. Enjoy!