Deities of the Book of Gates   

    The Book of Gates is the only one of its kind to show the gates of the Netherworld in such a visible and systematic fashion.  The comparison here is with the Book of the Dead spells 144 and 146 (also at times 145), which during the Ramesside Period was considered a substitute for the Book of Gates in non-royal tombs.  Such examples can be seen in the tomb of Nefertari, wife of Ramesses II, and others in the Valley of the Queens.  It is necessary to point out the distinction as the gates of the afterlife and to the realm of Osiris, appear as early as the Pyramid Texts.  In the Book of the Dead 144 the seven identified gates are referred to as areret, and in 146 as sebekhet and are twenty one in number.  In the Book of Gates, each gate has a guardian in serpent form on the gate which also is named.  Additionally there are two further guardians with vicious names and fire spiting serpents.

    Many more deities and deceased persons are seen in the Book of Gates than were in the Amduat.  However, here they are placed into groups and show us fewer individual names.  Unlike the Book of the Amduat, which is primarily a knowledge directed book, directions concerning the book’s use are not present.  Instead, there are notations about offerings which usually appear at the end of a section, and underscore the idea that this is a book of ritual in contrast to the Amduat.

    Following is a list of the names of the serpent guardian and the gate name for the hours or divisions found in the Book of Gates.*

Division         Guardian Serpent                 Name of Gate

    1                Guardian of the Desert      He of the Hidden Name (Osiris)

    2                Enveloper                          Intense of Flame

    3                Stinger                               Lady of Nourishment

    4                Flame-Face                        One of Action

    5                Eye of Flame                     Lady of Continuity

    6                Darting of Eye                   Throne of her Lord

    7                Hidden of Eye                   Gleaming One

    8                Flame-Face                        Red-hot

    9                Earth-tusk                          Exalted of Veneration

    10              Binder                               Sacred

    11              Effluent                             One Hidden of Access

    12              He of the Dawn                 Sacred of Power

* As presented by A.  Piankoff, The Tomb of Ramesses VI, New York, 1954.