A Journey through the Duat or Battling Apep through Imagination

August 30th, 2015

Starting out with this painting, I felt compelled to create a canvas according to the golden ratio. Using a pre-made black canvas, I sectioned it and prepared it before starting to sketch. An experiment I wanted to perform with this task, was using certain elements from ancient egyptian imagery as a 'style guide' to the painting. I often use style guides with other artwork I create, thus it seemed like something to be explored. But everytime for me, even with a style guide, I always need to break free from it. Having those rules, I try to see how I can break free of them and retain the minimum recognizable elements while the rest becomes what I want it to be.

A goal in the rendering of the painting, was to take the time to draw more exactly on the canvas before painting. When I paint, I often leave a lot up to later interpretation and expression. When researching and preparing the sketches, I am aware of the play between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. The information I'm researching is all very left brain, and combining this further with the right brain inspiration, the painting comes together with understanding. This one was a bit more challenging as I still feel I have more to synthesize in my understanding. I keep discovering new ideas, and they are beyond the scope of this one painting. I need to finish it and move on to the next one! Thus I feel the painting is not really yet complete, but I will be moving on to a new expression rather than dwell on picking this one to death. I was creating another mind map for what seemed like a separate project, and wondered to myself if the separation between the two was an illusion. I switched to a digital program so I could easily combine all the elements and move them smoothly to see how all the ideas fit into one cohesive system.

After playing and rearranging this chart a few times, I began to see 7 core concepts things were gathering around. I pulled those out and arranged into a new manner.


"O noble ones who are before the Lord of the unverse, behold, I have come before you. Respect me in accordance with what you know I am she whom the Unique Lord made before two things had yet come into being int this land by his sending forth his unique eye when he was alone, bu the going forth from his mouth ... when he put Hu upon his mouth. I am indeed the daughter of Him who gave birth to the universe, who was born before his mother yet existed. I am the protection of that which the Unique Lord has ordained. I am she who caused the Ennead to live ... I have seated myself, O bulls of heaven, in this my great dignity as Lord of Kas, heir of Re-Atum. I have come that I might take my seat and that I might receive my dignity, for to me belonged the universe before you gods had yet come into being. Descend, you who have come in the end. I am HEKA. My powers put fear into the gods who came into being after me, my myriad of spirits is within my mouth. It was HEKA who came into being of myself, at seeing whome the gods rejoiced, and through the sweet savor of whome the gods live, who created the mountains and knit the firmament together."

During the course of this project, I've been realizing how influenced by symbolism my artwork has become. This to me, also expresses my need to study symbols in order to gain a better understanding with means that aren't language. I struggle with using language most accurately to describe something - especially when some things hit me as an understanding through images, or symbols. Learning to express my ideas through symbols in my art is something I'm seeking, and this is just a very start of it.

Where I left off in my explorations with the Egyptian Soul, and a fascination with the Akh, I became interested in the Journey through the Duat. A cyclical process, filled with challenges, and ultimately triumphing to simply live another day to do it over again.

Concurrent with these studies, I've been practicing keeping present in the moment. I have a tendency to imagine future potentials, excessively or accurately depending on the circumstances. This comes in very handy at work when I need to plan creative projects on deadlines, but any other circumstances that contain quite a bit of unknown chaos and factors outside of my own actions, it just causes unneeded stress. Great for creativity, bad for excessive planning.

When learning about the Duat, an idea intrigued me, the duat being a potential 'place' of one's visualization capacity. Within the self, the Duat, beyond is Nuit, the stars in the sky. Can we separate ourselves from Nuit and still exist in the Duat? But what of making the journey through the an alteration of cycles and processes?

The Journey of the Sun Barque has two sides - the journey through the stars above, and the depths below. Everyday, balanced. Spending too much time in either state would be a stasis - not cycling and growing. We must keep moving through our cycles and patterns to gain new awareness.

Aligned with the idea of the Sun Barque, a traveling light source, is my current idea with the self complex of the egyptian soul, a multi-part 'ship.' Both of these devices of movement have elements that need to cooperate harmoniously in order to travel effectively.

I chose a barque made of a serpent for this painting. This is not the well-lit and balanced ship, but the other ship that needs to be taken for particularly difficult territories, according to the Book of Am-Tuat. In Division 4, they must travel in the serpent to get through all sorts of other even more terrible and deformed monsters. This is not the place where they fight apep...but I decided to juxtapose the helpful snake of the boat with the very unhelpful serpent-monster, Apep. Here he is pictured with six heads, for the sleep of the sixth angle. Yet another purposeful inaccuracy, the serpent boat would not travel in water, but I chose to draw the glyphs of water, to exist, below it. The alternating waves of water echoes the alternating waves of chaos in the folded Apep.

In the upper left, the eight parts of the egyptian soul are shown in a separated space. A realm of forms contained within the self. In the largest section, the background for the slaying of Apep, is the Akhet, the ever-changing horizon. To me, it is a light in the darkness, the destination the path moves towards, the torch and sowilo, the pull and mystery, Runa. Moving through this symbol of the sunset, is the process of Xeper and Remanifest, shown in glyphs of Xeperu. Above the sunset, the constellation of the thigh rests below the night sky.

The writing above the painting is Spell 261 and 648 from the coffin texts, "To Become the God Heka." I have adjusted some of the pronouns to be my own first person statement. (page 3) As a child I had a dream of myself being told I was a witch, and that in order to open up my powers, I would have to fly three times around an apple on a broomstick pointed towards it. During this dream, my magical name was revealed to me, Hkati.

Slaying Apep through Imagination is ridding myself of the overactive imagination that takes me out of the present moment. This can be imagining new ideas I won't pursue, potential future visions, funny memories or jokes to make, anything where I'm caught up in my imagination, and not present of what's happening at the moment. The imagination, the ability to see, is a great thing. But, like all powers, it must be used wisely, refined as a skill.

In journeying through time, we are tight rope walkers performing our balancing act. We must be aware of many flows of time and events, winds, around us. Most importantly, we must be aware of ourselves as we are traveling in the moment. The environment in which we travel is always filled with chaos, but we must be our own foundation to create our own way.

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