The Winged One
Then was the air alive with music, and I was no longer in this cold grey land. Bathed in a great shaft of yellow light I saw before me Ney-sey-ra, and in his voice there was melody of joy as he said, “Now you have joined the Winged Ones. Now you are free to come and go at will, to walk in the Caverns of the Underworld, to light them and be un-shadowed by their fear. You have heard melody where music lives, and looked upon beauty in her house of light. And all these things you shall record on Earth, so that the hearts of your people shall rejoice, so that the hearts of the wicked shall know fear, so that they shall retrace their steps to find the path which leads them to the freedom of the stars.
“Unfurl your wings and glide gently back to Earth, like a white dove returning to its home, bearing the message of the Winged Ones.”
Then I returned to my body, which for four days and four nights had lain upon the sarcophagus of white limestone in the Place of Initiation. My lids were heavy upon my eyes, and my body was slow to obey my will, as if it were exhausted after a long fever. Then I saw that I was no longer in darkness, for Toth-terra-das waited beside me to record my speech, and the light of a little oil lamp challenged the shadows. The memory of all that I had undergone crowded upon me like the waters of a river, and I prayed to Ptah that it should be as clear as drops of silver in measured words.
I told Toth-terra-das of beauty beyond the imaginings of Earth, of melodies that Earth ears cannot hear, of colour that dims the sunset’s brilliance, of quiet enfolding the still heart of peace. And I told him of fear that walks not on Earth’s path, of pain that is beyond our bodies’ span, of tears that mortal eyes can never weep.
When my tongue had told him my memories, I heard footsteps coming towards me down the shaft, and I saw Ney-sey-ra, robed in his earthly form. And when I saw the joy upon his face, I knew I had been his pupil worthily.
Before he would let me move he made me rest, and he gave me a draught of herbs and wine to drink; and a healer came and filled me with new life, so that my heavy weariness grew light.
ART : Image of Seti I from his temple in Abydos (Right)
Then did Ney-sey-ra lead me by the hand, as I had led others to the Place of Rest, and through the shaft I saw a golden wall that was the sunlight of the land of Kam. Awaiting me was a great multitude, dressed for a festival, with wreaths of flowers; and the stone causeway leading to the lake was avenued with gilt triumphal masts, streaming their pennants of scarlet, of yellow, and of green.
Then, holding the steering-oar of the Boat of Time, I led a great fleet of boats across the lake, like a warrior returning from a victory. The water about us was starred with brilliant flowers, and the air was joyous with the voices of my people as they sang the triumph of a Winged One:
For we walked upon a dark night
And now our sky is brilliant with stars.
For we walked in a barren land of grey mist
And now Ra is ascendant in his glory.
For we were beset by the spears of our enemies
And now they are vanquished and we walk in freedom.
For our tongues were muffled in the soundless caverns
And now we are singing upon the clear heights.
For we walked in the fear of famine
And now the bread is baking in our ovens
And our wine-jars are overflowing.
For we walked on stones between the thorn-trees
And now a Bearer of Sandals has come to us
And led us to quiet pastures.
For we were children crying in the shadows
And now we are cherished
And our dusk has been lighted by a flame.
For we were in the darkness of the ground
And now we are as trees
And we listen to the message of the dove
That is nesting in our branches.
For we were thirsty
And now we drink of the River of Life.
For we were lonely
And now we are the little brothers of one who loves us.
For we were afraid
And now we are strong in the shelter of a sword.
For we were lost in a bewilderment of paths
And now we follow a Winged One to freedom.
ART : Goddess Maat