O King, the mouth of the earth is split open for you, Geb speaks to you. May you be cleansed in the Jackal Lake, may you be purified in the Lake of the Duat. Come in peace . . . (Utterance 697, Pyramid Texts, trans. Faulkner)
We are approaching the time of year when many of the living things around us appear to die, when our spirits sag a little with the dwindling light and ebbing warmth.
The Pyramid Texts urge the recently-deceased king along in his journey towards eternity. Egypt’s risk for seismic activity is lower than many parts of the world, so the idea of the earth splitting open for the king may not carry memories of destruction as it would in many parts of the world. Instead, it represents the welcome of the earth deity, Geb, and the opportunity to be cleansed in the lakes of the Duat.