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Ancient Egyptian Texts:  9.1


BREATHING PERMIT OF HÔR


Date:   Ptolemaic Period
Language:   Hieratic
Translated by:   R.K. Ritner
Format:   see key to translations

  Several different versions of the Book of Breathing - a shorter alternative to the Egyptian 'Book of the Dead' - have survived from the Ptolemaic Period. By far the best known, because of its extraordinary history since its discovery in the early 19th century, is the 'Breathing Permit of Hr'.

  This English translation is taken from R.K. Ritner, "The Breathing Permit of Hr among the Joseph Smith Papyri" ( 2003 - PDF ), which should be consulted for all details of the interpretation of the text. An approximate indication of the contents, where there are gaps in the text, can be supplied by a well-preserved copy of the Book of Breathing, Louvre Papyrus 3284, which was translated by P.J. De Horrack in "Records of the Past", vol. 4 ( 1875 - archive.org ).   The numbers in red are the columns of the papyrus.


Introductory Vignette with Five Hieroglyphic Subcolumns

Address to Hor

[1]   [" Osiris, the god?s father], prophet of Amon-Re, King of the Gods, prophet of Min who slaughters his enemies, prophet of Khonsu, the [one who exercises] authority in Thebes, [. . .] . . . Hor, the justified, son of the similarly titled overseer of secrets and purifier of the god, Osorwer, the justified, born by the [housewife and sistrum-player of Amon]-Re, Taikhibit, the justified! May your ba-spirit live among them, and may you be buried on the west [of Thebes]." ["O (?) Anubis, . . .] (?) justification. [May you give to him] a good and splendid burial on the west of Thebes as on the mountains of (?) Manu."

Directions for Use

[2]   [Osiris shall be towed in]to the great lake of Khonsu, and likewise [the Osiris Hor, the justified,] born of Taikhibit, the justified, after his two arms have been [placed] at his heart, while the Breathing Document, being what is written on its interior and exterior, shall be wrapped in royal linen and placed under his left arm in the midst of his heart. The remainder of his wrapping shall be made over it. As for the one for whom this book is made, he thus breathes like the ba-spirits of the gods, forever and ever.

The Main Body of the Breathing Document

Paragraph I

[3]   Beginning of the Breathing [Document] that [Isis] made [for her brother Osiris in order to revivify his ba-spirit, to revivify his corpse, and to rejuvenate all his limbs] again, [so that he might unite with] the horizon together with his father Re, [so that his ba-spirit might be made to appear gloriously in heaven in the moon disk, so that his corpse might shine in Orion within the body of the sky-goddess Nut, and so that] the same things might be made to happen to the Osiris Hor, the justified, son [of . . . Osorwer, the justified, born of Taikhibit, the justified.] Hide [it! Hide it!] Do not let anyone read it! It is effective [for a man in the necropolis, so that he might live again,] [being proved] truly [effective], millions of times.

Paragraph II

"Hail, [Osiris] Hor, the justified, born of Taikhibit, [the justified! You are pure! Your heart is pure! Your front is in] a state of purity, your rear is in a state of cleanliness, and your interior parts consist of soda and [natron. There is no limb of yours in an evil state.] The Osiris Hor, the justified, born of Taikhibit, the justified, [has been purified] in this pool of the Fields of Offerings on the north of the Fields of Locusts. Edjo and Nekhbet have purified you in the third hour of night and in the third hour [of day. Come, then, Osiris Hor, the justified, born of Taikhibit], the justified! May you enter into the Hall of the Two Truths, since you are pure from [all] impurity [and every abomination. ?Rock of Truth? is your name.]

Paragraph III

[Hail,] Osiris Hor, the justified! May you enter into the Underworld in a state of great purity. [The Two Truths] have purified you in the [Great] Hall. [Purification is made for you in the Hall of Geb. Your limbs have been purified] in the Hall of Shu. You see Re at his setting, Atum [at twilight. Amon is with you, giving you breath. Ptah fashions] your limbs. May you enter into the horizon with Re. [May your ba-spirit be received into the sacred Neshmet bark with Osiris.] [[4]   [May] your ba-spirit [be deified in the Estate of Geb, since you are justified forever and ever.]

Paragraph IV

[Osiris] Hor, the justified, born of Tai[khibit, the justified! May your name] endure, may your corpse abide, and may your mummy thrive. [You shall not be turned away in heaven or on earth. May your face be illuminated in the presence of Re.] May your ba-spirit live in the presence of Amon. May your corpse be rejuvenated in the presence of Osiris. May you breathe forever and ever.

Paragraph V

[May your ba-spirit make for you an invocation-offering consisting of bread, beer, beef, and fowl, and of cool water and] incense in the course of [every] day. [Your flesh is on] your bones in accordance with the form that you had on earth. May you drink with your throat. [May you eat with your mouth. May you receive] offering bread together with [the ba-spirits of the gods.] Anubis guards you. He has made your protection. You shall not be turned [away] from the doors [of the Underworld. Thoth ], the Thrice Greatest, Lord of Hermopolis, [has come to you.] He has written for you a Breathing Document with his own fingers, so that [your ba-spirit] may breathe [forever, and that you might regain the] form that you had on earth among the living, since you are divine together with the ba-spirits of the gods. Your heart is the heart of Re; your flesh [is the flesh of the great god.]

Paragraph VI

[Hail,] Osiris Hor, the justified! Amon is with you every day in the Estate of Re, so that you might live again. Wepwawet has opened for you the good way, [so that you might see with your eyes, that you might hear with] your ears, that you might speak with your mouth, and that you might walk with your feet, while your ba-spirit is deified in the Underworld [in order to] make [any] transformations [according to its will. May you cause the] rustlings of the noble persea tree [. . .] in Heliopolis. May you awake every day so that you might see the rays [of the sun. Amon has come to you bearing the] breath of life. He has caused that you breathe in your sarcophagus so that you might go forth to the earth every day. The Breathing Document [of Thoth] has been made for you as your protection, so that you might breathe by means of it like Re, so that your eyes might see the rays of the sun disk, and so that you might be called "justified" [in the presence of Osiris. Your] (?) protection has been made. Horus the Behdedite has guarded your body and has deified your ba-spirit as do all the gods. The ba-spirit of Re revivifies your [ba-spirit. The ba-spirit of the air-god Shu unites with] your nostrils.

Paragraph VII

Hail, Osiris Hor, the justified, born of Taikhibit, the justified! May your ba-spirit breathe wherever it likes, [5]   since you exist as [Osiris. Osiris Foremost of the Westerners is your name. Hapy the great {the Nile Inundation} has come to you from Elephantine, so that he might fill your altar with food offering]s.

Paragraph VIII

Osiris Hor, the justified, born of [Taikhibit, the justified! The gods of Upper Egypt have come to you so that they might guide you to Alkhah. May your ba-spirit live, may you] serve Osiris, may you breathe within Rostau. ["She-who-hides-her-Lord" and the great god have protected you. Your corpse lives in] Busiris and the Thinite nome. Your ba-spirit lives in heaven every [day].

Paragraph IX

[Osiris Hor, the justified, born of Taikhibit, the justified! Sakhmet has overpowered those who would conspire against you. Horus] the steadfast makes your protection. Horus the Behdedite [performs your wishes. Hormerty guards your body, so that you are permanently in] life, prosperity, and health, enduring upon your throne in the sacred land. Come, [then,] Osiris Hor, the justified, born of Taikhibit, the justified, appearing gloriously in your proper form, complete in your ornaments! May you spend the night in life; [may you spend the day in health. May you travel and may you breathe in] any place. May Re shine upon your cavern like that of Osiris, so that you might breathe and [live by means of his rays. Amon-Re has revivified] your ka-spirit and has made you flourish by means of the Breathing Document. May you serve Osiris [and Horus, Lord of the sacred Henu bark, since you exist as the Great God, Foremost] of the gods. May your face live; may your forms be perfect. Your name thrives every day. [Come,] may you enter into the very great embalming [booth] in Busiris. May you see the Foremost of the Westerners in the Wag-Festival. May your scent be sweet as a youth. [May your name be great as] an august noble.

Paragraph X

Hail, Osiris Hor, the justified! May your ba-spirit live by means of the Breathing Document, [and may you be united by the same manner with] the ba-spirit. May you enter into the Underworld. There are no enemies of yours, for you exist as a divine, effective spirit [in Busiris. Your heart belongs to you; it will not be far from you. Your eyes belong to you, being open every day."]

{ This marks the end of the preserved text. Paragraphs 11-14 are lost, approximately two columns - cols. 6-7. }

Possible contents of missing paragraphs

{ As shown in Louvre Papyrus 3284; 'N' is the name of the dead man. }

Paragraph XI (a)

Words spoken by the gods who accompany Osiris, to Osiris N :   You are following Re. You are following Osiris. Your soul lives for ever and ever.

Paragraph XI (b)

Words spoken by the gods who dwell in the Lower Heaven like Osiris of the West, to Osiris N :  Let them open to him at the gates of the Lower Heaven. He is received in the divine Underworld, that his soul may live for ever. He is building a dwelling in the divine Underworld. He is rewarded. He has received the Breathing Document, that he may breathe.

Paragraph XII

Royal offering to Osiris who resides in the West, great god, Lord of Abydos, that he may give offerings of bread, of hak, of oxen, of geese, of wine, of the liquor aket, of bread hotep, of all kinds of good provisions, to Osiris N. Your soul lives. Your body germinates, by order of Re himself, without pain, without injury, like Re for ever and ever.

Paragraph XIII

Oh Strider, coming out of An { Heliopolis }, Osiris N has not committed any sin.
Oh Mighty of the Moment, coming out of Kerau, Osiris N has not done any evil.
Oh Nostril, coming out of Sesennu { Hermopolis }, Osiris N has not been exacting.
Oh Devourer of the Eye, coming out of Kerti, Osiris N has not obtained anything by theft.
Oh Impure of visage, coming out of Rusta, Osiris N has not been angry.
Oh Lion-gods, coming forth from heaven, Osiris N has not committed any sin by reason of hardness of heart (?)
Oh Fiery-Eyed, coming out of Sechem, Osiris N has not been weak.

Paragraph XIV

Oh gods who dwell in the Lower Heaven, listen to the voice of Osiris N. He is near to you.There is no fault in him. No informer rises up against him. He lives in the truth. He nourishes himself with truth. The gods are satisfied with all that he has done. He has given food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothes to the naked. He has given the sacred food to the gods, the funeral meals to the pure Spirits. No complaint has been made against him before any of the gods. Let him enter then into the Lower Heaven without being repulsed. Let him follow Osiris, with the gods of Kerti. He is favoured among the faithful, and deified among the perfected.Let him live ! Let his soul live ! His soul is received wherever it wishes. He has received the Breathing Document, so that he may breathe with his soul, with that of the Lower Heaven, and that he may make any transformation at his will, like the inhabitants of the West ; that his soul may go wherever it wishes, living on the earth for ever and ever.

Concluding Vignette

Label for Osiris

Recitation by Osiris, Foremost of the Westerners, Lord of (?) Abydos, the great god forever and (?) ever.

Label for Isis

Isis the great, the god?s mother.

Label for Maat

Maat, mistress of the gods.

Label for Hor

The Osiris Hor, justified forever.

Label for Anubis

Recitation by Anubis, who makes (?) protection, foremost of the embalming booth, . .

Invocation

O gods of the necropolis, gods of the caverns, gods of the south, north, west, and east, grant salvation to the Osiris Hor, the justified, born by Taikhibit.


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