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  • Getting-to-Heaven Spell July 2, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback

    Location: This spell is only attested in the Countryman, a British magazine in 1949, for Cornwall. Bit suspicious of its authenticity, but then desperate circumstances… (Anon 1950, 155)

    Aim: To assure that a sinner of his or her deathbed will get through the pearly gates.

    Ingredients: A black rooster, a death bed, a dying man or woman, a good strong grip.

    Method: (i) Get a black rooster: note it MUST be black.

    (ii) Go to the window of the room where your relative or friend or client is dying.

    (iii) wring the rooster’s neck at the window as the relative/friend/client is breathing their last.

    (iv) the dying individual will be accompanied to judgement by the spirit of the dead rooster and when St Peter sees the cock ‘it will remind him how he denied our Lord, and that will make him more merciful to let the sinner in [sic].’

    Dangers: Getting the right moment must be a problem: as anyone who has sat in on a death will know, people’s ends are rather unpredictable.

    Antiquity: Clearly the inspiration for this trick is Christian, but the insistence that the rooster must be black suggests that there are pagan antecedents or at least pagan inspiration. Black roosters seems to have been valued for sacrifices through much of Euro-Asia and Africa. Was there even a tradition, in apocrypha, that the cock that crowed at St Peter was black?

    31 Jul 2017: Chris S. writes – Ancient Egypt had its own beliefs in the afterlife, evinced by discoveries in their tombs and the Egyptian Book of the Dead. The latter describes how if the deceased’s heart was lighter than a feather then they would toil forever in paradise. If their heart was heavier, you were eaten by a demon. There is a workaround with a heart scarab. Basically it’s a plea to the heart to lie on one’s behalf and be lighter than a feather.

    Spell 30

    “Formula for not allowing the heart of N to be removed from him
    My heart of my mother, my heart of my mother, my heart of my earthly being
    Do not stand against me as witness beside the lords of the ritual
    Do not say against me, he did do it, about my actions
    Do not make a case against me beside the great god
    Hail my heart, Hail my heart
    Hail my entrails, Hail those gods
    At the fore, tressed, resting upon their sceptres
    Tell my goodness to Ra, hand me to Nehebkau
    See him, uniting the earth at the great one within
    May I endure on earth, not die in the west, and be a blessed spirit there”

    The interview to enter paradise comprises 42 questions.

    Spell 125

    “Address at arrival at the broad hall of the Two Goddesses of What is Right,
    shielding N from all forbidden things that he has done, and seeing the faces of the gods.
    Words spoken by N:
    Hail great god, lord of the place of the Two Goddesses of What is Right.
    I have come before you so that you may bring me to see your perfection.
    I know you, I know your name,
    I know the name of these 42 gods who are with you in this broad court of the Two Goddesses of What is Right,
    who live on the henchmen of evil, and eat of their blood
    on that day of calculating characters in the presence of Wennefer.
    See, your name is He of the two Daughters, he of the two Chants, lord of the Two Goddesses of What is Right,
    See, I am come before you, I have brought What is Right to you, I have removed What is Wrong for you.
    I have not impoverished the divine herd (people); I have committed no crime in place of What is Right;
    I have not known (explored) nothingness; I have not done any evil
    I have not made a daily start in labours over what I did (previously);
    My name has not reached the office of director of servants;
    I have not orphaned the orphan of his goods;
    I have not done the abomination of the gods;
    I have not slighted a servant to his master;
    I have not caused affliction; I have not caused hunger; I have not caused grief; I have not killed;
    I have not harmed the offering-cattle; I have not caused pain for anyone;
    I have not reduced the offerings in the temples;
    I have not harmed the offering-loaves of the gods;
    I have not taken the festival-loaves of the blessed dead;
    I have not penetrated the penetrater of a penetrater; I have not masturbated;
    I have not reduced the measuring-vessel, I have not reduced the measuring cord;
    I have not encroached on the fields; I have not added to the pan of the scales;
    I have not tampered with the plumb bob of the scales;
    I have not taken milk from the mouths of babes;
    I have not concealed herds from their pastures;
    I have not snared birds in the thickets (?) of the gods;
    I have not caught fish in their pools;
    I have not held back water in its time;
    I have not dammed a dam at rapid waters;
    I have not put out the fire in its moment;
    I have not transgressed the days concerning meat offerings;
    I have not turned back cattle from the property of a god;
    I have not blocked a god in his processions;
    I am pure (four times),
    my purity is the purity of that great phoenix which is in Henenesut,
    because I am indeed that nose of the lord of breath,
    who enables all the populace to live, on that day of filling the Sound Eye in Iunu, on month 2 of winter, last day.
    I am the one who sees the filling of the Sound Eye in Iunu.
    Nothing evil can befall me in this land, in this broad hall of the Two Goddesses of What is Right,
    because I know the names of the gods who dwell in it.”

    I think it’s interesting since it implies either Egypt’s gods can see a human’s true nature but be easily fooled. On the other hand, it suggests only the guilty go to hell and those without regrets can work in paradise.

    An interesting conceit with a potential parallel in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. Dream of the Endless goes to hell to release his former lover. Lucifer stops him, gives a tour of hell while explaining how everyone in hell could leave at any time but they’re the ones keeping them there. Not him.

    The idea is empowering, but a condemnation of the human psyche.