The Book of the Cow of Heaven
The Book of Nut

ca.1323 BCE

the Celestial Cow
after the outermost shrine of Tutankhamun

The Destruction of Mankind - the New World Order &
the Magic of Nut and Re

by Wim van den Dungen

The Book
of the
Cow of Heaven

ca.1323 BCE

(...) : additions in English
{...} : fragmentary, uncertain or corrupt but restored
(------) : long lacunae or section with a lot of lacunae
(---) : short lacunae or no restoration possible

This translation was inspired by Piankoff (1955), Lichtheim (1976), Hornung (1982) & Simpson (2003), and based on the hieroglyphs of all extant New Kingdom sources (available on the internet).

Etiological statements italicized. Added dialogal structures ("..." and '...'), interpunction and titles in bold.


Then it came to pass, that the Majesty of Re, who came into being by himself, having been king of mankind and gods, (still) together as a unity, (that) mankind plotted against the person of Re while his Majesty, life, prosperity, health, had grown old, his bones being silver, his flesh gold, his hair of genuine lapis lazuli.

Part 1 : The Destruction of Mankind

the divine council

Now his Majesty had learned about the plot divised against him by mankind. Then his Majesty, life, prosperity, health, said to those who were in his retinue :

"Summon to me my Eye, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, and Nut as well as the fathers and mothers who were with me when I was in Nun, and also the god Nun, bringing his courtiers along with him. (But) bring them secretly, lest mankind see and their hearts flee. Come with them to the Great Palace, so that they may give their council. (For) in the end, I may return to Nun, to the place where I came into being !"

So these gods were brought, and these gods were lined up on his two sides, bowing their heads toward the ground before his Majesty, in order that he might speak his words in front of the father of the eldest (gods), the maker of mankind and king of commoners.

They said to his Majesty :
"Speak to us, so that we may hear it !"

Then Re said to Nun :
"O eldest god in whom I came into being, and You ancestral gods ! Behold, mankind, who came into being from my Eye,
is plotting against me. Tell me what You would do about this, since I am searching. I seek not to slay them before having heard what You might have to say."

The Majesty of Nun replied :
"O my son Re ! God greater than his maker, and more august than his creators, be seated on your throne ! Great is fear of You when your Eye is on those who conspire against You !"

The Majesty of Re said :
"See, they have fled into the desert, their hearts being afraid that I speak to them."

They said to his Majesty :
"Send out your Eye that it may smite them for You, those conspirers of evil ! No Eye is more fit to smite them for You. May it come down as Hathor !"

the divine slaughter held off

(And so) this goddess returned after slaying mankind in the desert, and the Majesty of this god said (to her) :

"Welcome in peace, Hathor, Eye who did what I came for !"

Said the goddess :
"As You live for me, I have overpowered mankind, and it was balm to my heart."

Then the Majesty of Re said :
"I shall have power over them as king !
Hold off diminishing their number !"

And so the Powerful One (Sekhmet) came into being.

divine drunkenness

The beer-mash of the night for she who would wade in their blood as far as Henes.

Re said :
"Summon to me speedy messengers who run like a body's shadow."

These messengers were brought immediately, and the Majesty of this god said :

"Run up to Yebu
and fetch me red ocher in great quantity !"

So this red ocher was brought to him, and the Majesty of this great god ordered the Side-Lock Wearer in On to grind this red ocher, while maidservants crushed barley for beer. Then the red ocher was added to the beer-mash, and it looked like the blood of men ; seven thousand jars of beer were made. Then the Majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Re came together with the gods to see this beer.

And when the Earth was light for the killing of mankind by this goddess in her time of traveling South, the Majesty of Re said :

"It is good ! I shall save mankind from her (by it)."

Re said :
"Carry it to the place where she plans to slay mankind."

Re, the Majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, got up early when it was still night in order to have this sleeping draught poured out. Then the fields were flooded three palms high with the liquid by the might of the Majesty of this god. When the goddess set out in the morning, she found these (fields) inundated, and her face was delighted by it. She drank and it pleased her heart. She returned drunk and failed to recognize mankind.

The Majesty of Re said to this goddess :
"Welcome in peace ! O Beautiful One !"

Thus beautiful women came to be in Imu.

The Majesty of Re said to this goddess :
"Let sleeping draughts be prepared for her on the seasonal feasts of the year, and let this be entrusted to maidservants."

And since this first day, the (custom) came into being that people entrust the preparation of sleeping drinks to maidservants on the Feast of Hathor."

The Majesty of Re said to this goddess :
"Is there a burning pain of sickness ?"

And so respect is bound to come into being through pain.

Part 2 : The Withdrawal of Re

The Majesty of Re said :
"As true as I live, my heart is too weary to remain with them. I wanted to slay them, but did not do it. At present, their small number no longer interests me."

The gods in his retinue said :
"Do not withdraw in your weariness, for You have power over all what You desire."

The Majesty of this god then said to the Majesty of Nun :
"My limbs are feeble as in the First Time. I will not return until another (cycle) overtakes me."

Then the Majesty of Nun said :
"O (my) son Shu, {your} eye shall serve {your} father as protection. O (my) daughter Nut, place him {upon your back}."

Nut replied :
"But how, my father Nun ?"
Nut said : "Do not {be childish}, O Nun !"

{And so} Nut became {a cow}.

Then the Majesty of Re {placed} himself on her back !

the rejection of slaughter

Thereupon these men {came back from their place of flight}, and they saw him on the back of the cow, and they spoke to him :

"(---) we have {come} so that we might overthrow your enemies, who complotted against those who created them."

(But) his Majesty proceeded to {his} palace {on the back} of this cow. He did {not} set off with them ! So the land lay in darkness. And when it dawned in the early morning, these men came out carrying bows and {clubs}, and they {found} a way of shooting at the enemies.

(But) the Majesty of this god said :
"Your baseness be behind You, slaughterers !
May your slaughtering be far removed {from me}."

And so slaughter {originated} among mankind.

Re's ascension and palace among the stars

This god then said to Nut :
"I placed myself on your back to be uplifted."

"What is this ?", asked Nut.

And so {she} came to be there in both the heavens.

The Majesty of this god said :
"Stay far away from them !
Lift me up !
Look at me !"

And so she became the sky.

Then the Majesty of {this} god was visible within her.

She said :
"If only You would provide me with a multitude !"

{And so the Milky Way} came into being.

His Majesty, life, prosperity, health, said :
"Peaceful is the field here."

And so the Field of Offerings (or Peace) came into being.

"Oh, I shall plant green herbs in it."

And so the Field of Rushes came into being.

"I shall provide them with everything."

And so ever scintilating stars (came into being).

Then Nut started trembling owing to the height.

So the Majesty of Re said :
"lf only I had the Heh gods supporting her !"

And so the Infinite Ones came into being.

The Majesty of Re said :
"O my son Shu, place yourself under my daughter Nut and guard for me the two groups of Infinite Ones who live in the twilight. Place her over your head and nurture her."

And so it came to pass, that a nurse is given to a son or a daughter, and that a father places a son on top of his head.

Part 3 : The Cow of Heaven

This spell is to be recited over the (picture of) a cow, with  "the Infinite Ones who are" (inscribed) on her chest, and over whose back is (inscribed) "the Infinite Ones who are". Whose four hoofs are filled out in paint and upon whose belly are nine stars, issuing from its hindquarters in front of its hind legs, while beneath its belly stands Shu, painted in yellow ocher, his arms support these stars, and inscribed with his name between them, which says "Shu is himself".

A barque, on which are a steering-oar and a shrine with a Solar disk over it and Re in it, is in front of Shu, close to his hand, while another version (of a barque) is behind him, close to his (other) hand. Her two udders are placed in the middle of her left leg, one half of them being drawn in paint in the middle of this hind leg with the following words outside in retrograde : "I am who I am. I will not let them take action." What is (written) beneath the barque that is in front is : "You shall not grow weary, my son." - in retrograde, and as follows : "Your condition is like that of one who lives forever." and as follows : "Your son is in me. Life, prosperity and health be for your nose !"

What is (written) behind Shu, close to his arm, is as follows : "Guard them !" What is behind him at his flank is (written) in retrograde as follows : "It is right that they should enter when I retire each day." What is (written) under the arm of the figure below the left hind leg and behind it is as follows : "Everything is sealed." What is (written) above his head, below the hindquarters of the cow and what is between its hind legs is as follows : "May he come out." What is (written) behind the two figures that are between its hind legs and above their heads : "The aged one is in the realm of the dead. Praise is given to him when he enters." What is (written) over the heads of the two figures that are between its forelegs : "He who procreates, he who adores, support of the sky."

Part 4 : The New World Order

the Earth and the Duat

Then the Majesty of this god said to Thoth :
"Summon to me the Majesty of Geb saying : 'Come quickly at once !'"

So the Majesty of Geb came.

The Majesty of this god said :
"Take heed of your snakes which are in You ! Behold, they feared me as long as I was there, but You know their magical power. Go then to the place where my father Nun is and tell him to keep watch over terrestrial and aquatic snakes. You are to write down each mound belonging to the snakes there, saying :  'Beware of spoiling anything !' They should know that I am here, for I am shining for them too. Now as for their habitation, it will exist in this land forever. Also guard against the magical spells which their mouths know, since (the god) Magic is himself therein, as indeed (the god) Knowledge is with You. It will not happen, that being as great as I am, I shall have to keep guard over them as formely. I hand them over to your son Osiris, who will keep watch over the youngest of them and cause the hearts of the oldest of them to forget their magical power. They who are excellent in what pleases them against the whole world, using their magic which is in their bodies."

the divine mind as vicar of Re

The Majesty of this god said then :
"Summon then Thoth to me."

So he was brought at once, and the Majesty of this god said to Thoth :

"Behold, I am here in the sky in my abode. Since I am going to give light and brilliance in the Duat and on the Island of the Twin Bas, be a scribe there and calm down those who are there, those whom we created and those who (nevertheless) rebelled. It is You who shall repulse the followers of this (god) with unsatisfied heart. You are to be in my place, my vicar, so it will be said of You : 'Thoth, the vicar of Re.' And I shall cause You to send out those who are greater than You."

And so the Ibis of Thoth came into being.

"And I shall cause You to stretch out your hand in front of the primeval gods, who are greater than You, and my affairs will be good if You do that."

And so the Ibis-bird of Thoth came into being.

"And I shall cause You to encompass the two heavens with your perfection and with your brightness."

And so the Moon of Thoth came into being.

"And I shall cause You to drive back the Hanebu."

And so the Baboon of Thoth came into being and became vizier.

"As long as You are my vicar, the eyes of all who look at You are opened through You, and everyone will praise god for You."

Part 5 : The Magic of Nut and Re

the preparations

(If) a man pronounces this spell over himself, he should be anointed with olive oil and salve, the censer in his hands with incense, natron behind his ears and natron pellets in his mouth, dressed in two fresh linen garments, (put on) after he has bathed himself in flowing water, shod with sandals of white leather. Maat should be painted on his tongue in the green colors of the scribe. If Thoth intends to recite this for Re, he should purify himself with a ninefold purification, three days long. Servants (of the god) and men should do the same. The one who recites this, should carry out this image which is in this book. Then he increases his lifetime doublefold (---) of excess. His eyes will be his, and all his limbs will be his. His steps will not go astray, so that the people say of him : "He is like Re on the day of his birth !" His things cannot be diminished, nor can his gateway crumble. This is a successful method, (proven) a million times !

return to the First Time

Nun was embraced by the Eldest (god) himself, who said to the gods who came out (with him) in the East of the sky :

"Give praise to the Eldest god, from whom I came into being ! It is I who made the sky and set {it} in place in order to let the souls of the gods reside in it. I am with them for the eternal recurrence (of time) born through the years. My soul is magic. It is (even) greater than this."

Khnum is the soul of Shu.
Kindness is the soul of eternal recurrence.
Night is the soul of darkness.
Re is the soul of Nun.
The Ram of Mendes is the soul of Osiris.
Crocodiles are the souls of Sobek.
The soul of every god and every goddess is in the snakes.
The soul of Apophis is in the Eastern Mountain, while the soul of Re is in magic thoughout the whole world.

first spell : protection through Re

(What) a man should say in order to make his protection through magic :

"I am this pure magic which is in the mouth and in the body of Re. O gods, You who are far from me. I am Re, the Luminous One !"

second spell : identification with the magic of Re

(What) You should say when You pass by in the evening at twilight :

"Upon your face !
You enemy of Re !
I am his soul, pure magic !"

(and say) :
"O Lord of Eternal Recurrence, who formed Everlastingness, who diminished the years of the gods. When Re comes down, these come out of him every day. Lord of his (own) godliness. Ruler who made his own maker. Beloved one of the fathers of the gods."

third spell : hymn to Nut

A magician, his head being purified, should make a female figure, standing to his South, and draw a goddess upon her, and in the middle of her, a snake standing erect upon its tail, with her hand upon its body and its tail upon the ground.

(He should say) :
"O You, to whom Thoth gives praise, while the dignity of heaven is upon You and toward whom Shu extends his arms, may You save me from those two great and mighty gods who dwell in the East of the sky, who guard heaven, who guard Earth, and who are with enduring mysteries."

Then they must say :
"How great he is when he goes forth to see Nun !"

fourth spell : ritual of Re

for the living

Words recited by a priest on the first and the fifteenth of the month, in accord with this ancient format. The one who recites this spell shall live in the necropolis, and respect for him shall be greater than (for) those who are upon Earth.

If they ask :
"What are your names ?"

(answer) :
"Eternal Recurrence and Everlastingness !".

Then they are bound to say :
"{Truly} a god !", and to say :
"He has reached us here by this way."

for the dead

(Say) :
"I know the name of that god whose face is that of Hersefu ! I am he to whom an amulet is attached in the evening. I am Re amid his Ennead, his court made of magic. I pass by uninjured. I belong to the flame, which is the soul of fire. I have no adversaries among men, gods, spirits, among the dead, or in anything in the whole of this land."

Words spoken by these gods who are gone alive. The gods are to be informed, they who have their faces in their hands, (that) he is allowed to pass by on the road.

And so the Flaming One came into being in the sky.

conclusion of the book ?

As for any able scribe who knows the divine words and the spells that are in his mouth, he can ascend and descend within the sky. Those of the West cannot hold him back, nor can the saliva of his mouth become hot. His head cannot be removed by decapitation, nor does he (need to) bend his arms before the tribunal. He shall enter at the head of the spirits together with those who know the spells of the magical formulary. No crime which he may have done upon Earth can be reckoned. He can not be short of donations, nor can the net be prepared for him. If You hand over (these spells) to any prince or to any magistrate, (those) who take care for the one who has no bread, (then) his headcloth need not be removed (before) the elders, (but) they will regard him as leaves (------) One shall not do anything harmful to him or (------)

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