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Pharaoh Tarot Deck

Douglass A. White, 2010

The Pharaoh Tarot Deck of Sety I and Rameses II

by Douglass A. White, Ph.D.

The Wizard of Amen

A Delta Point Monograph December, 2010


Pharaoh Tarot Deck

Douglass A. White, 2010

Osirian Tarot Winter Solstice Greeting Card

(commonly used as frontispiece to Book of the Dead)

Frontispiece Illustration in the Papyrus of Ani Adoration of Ta-Tu-Nen (Osiris Resurrected)


Pharaoh Tarot Deck

Douglass A. White, 2010

Description of the Frontispiece

The basic figure is an abstract form of Osiris dying to be resurrected at Winter Solstice and was called Nen (nien in Chinese). The Egyptians personified Nen as the deity Ta-nen, or Ta-tu-nen the tutelary lord of Abydos, the sacred site of Osiris in the south. Here are some glyphs of Ta-nen.

The ensemble of glyphs in the frontispiece depicts the sun (Ra) ecstatically lifted up by the Tree of Life (Etz Chayyim = Tanenbaum = Christmas Tree). The Jed pillar is the spine of Osiris, the tree in which his dead human body was captured by Nature and transformed into a vegan deity to become the Lord of Plants. On top is the Ankh symbol of life, showing that Osiris resurrects at the Winter Solstice, the Midnight Hour of the dark Atlantean phase of annihilation, at the point when we take our next in-breath, and the solar life force begins to rise again. The whole ensemble is established on the land (Ta T) between the two hills (tu I) that are sacred to Anubis (Death) and Wepwawet (Guide Dog of the Blind) and hence is sometimes called Tatunen, an ancient epithet for Osiris. The sun glyph nestled between the two hills forms the sign Aakhet >, used for both dawn and dusk, and marks the ideal time for samadhi meditation when the light and dark phases of life reach equilibrium. On the left is Isis (Feeling) and on the right is Nephthys (Ecstasy). The two sisters join to support their brother, adore him, and love his pillar back to life, knowing that his true nature is the Sun-Ra of the Higher Self embodying pure light even when he appears to act out the low point of human existence that appears as death and self-destruction. The two ladies kneel on benches made from the glyph for gold, suggesting that the physical world is just a compression of the incorruptible golden celestial light of the Higher Self. Above on both sides of the solar sphere a troop of dog-faced baboons excitedly greets the return of the Sun/Son. They are transformations of Baba/Thoth in his guise as the playful Fool (the little "dog" on the Tarot card) and correspond to Sun Wu-kungs magical troop or Vrisha Kapi/Hanuman and his buddies. They perform sun salutations, chant whoopie mantras, and generally carry on like the bunch of idiots that they are. Stretched across the top is the glyph for Heaven (! the affirmative answer to all questions).

Pharaoh Tarot Deck

Douglass A. White, 2010

The Pharaoh Tarot Deck of Sety I and Rameses II

by Douglass A. White, Ph.D.

The Discovery
Recently as I was starting a student off in the study of ancient Egyptian I leafed through my copy of How to Read Egyptian by Collier and Manley. I like this text because the authors teach you in a few lessons how to read real Egyptian artifacts using lots of excellent sample artifacts from the British Museum as the reading material. When I reached page 30, my eye was caught by two sentences introducing a photograph of BM EA 117 (the Abydos King-List of Rameses II), an artifact that Rameses modeled on a list that was carved in his father Sety Is mortuary temple, which is also at Abydos and is in a much better state of preservation. Originally there were 78 cartouches in the upper registers (the 76 found in the Seti I list plus the two cartouche names of Ramesses II). This number probably reflects cultic tradition, the space available on the wall, and possibly the 76 forms of the sun-god enumerated in the religious text known as the Litany of Re. When I saw the numbers, I knew that space available on the wall was the least probable explanation, since Rameses II was famous as the most extravagant pharaoh throughout several thousand years of Egyptian history in terms of willingness to devote space to carved rock. Khufu may have piled more rocks in one place, but Rameses populated the entire Egyptian landscape with his colossal statues and inscriptions. The most likely explanation for the number Rameses chose was cultic tradition and the forms of the sun-god enumerated in the Litany of Ra. Before we get into a theory concerning the kings list we should become acquainted with the full royal titles of Sety I and Rameses II, because the names they chose have some bearing on the story. were as follows: The five traditional royal titles of Egyptian pharaohs

The Horus & Name (or Serekh o Name) was usually written in a serekh-style cartouche and emphasized the power of pharaohs will, because Horus symbolized the power of the will to assert itself and create an identity. The serekh was an early form of Egyptian palace architecture, so the cartouche represented the king in his palace. Horus was the chief totem deity from the founding of dynastic Egypt and represented

Pharaoh Tarot Deck

Douglass A. White, 2010

the will to unite the country and build a great civilization. The serekh was the focal point of an organized society, and its fundamental meaning is to cause someone to know something (se-rekh). The kings job was to promulgate the rules of the society, to formulate and announce national policies and plans, and to execute them. Horus is an animal totem for the sun and represents the ability of the Higher Self to define energy into forms of life. Se-rekh is very similar to the term Da-rekh, which is to give someone (i.e. empower someone) to know something. Da-rekh is the ancient Egyptian origin of the word Tarok, the ancient term used in many countries of Europe to describe the deck of cards most English speakers know in our day as the Tarot. The Tarot (Tarok) is a set of 78 cards designed to present the ancient wisdom of mankind in a flashcard format. For thousands of years it has existed in a variety of formats as an educational device disguised as a game or a divination technology. The Nebty i Name emphasized the awakening of a pharaohs kundalini life force so as to make him healthy and fit to lead the entire country. The Nebty are animal totem glyphs (vulture [mut] and green cobra [wajet]) used to represent goddesses who symbolically embodied the vital energy of Southern and Northern Egypt. The geography of Egypt was conceived as a giant model of the human body. Thus the cobra goddess represented the neck and head (approximately from the sphinx to the Mediterranean), whereas the vulture represented the trunk from the shoulders on down (from the sphinx on south to Nubia). The hemispheric basket glyphs represent the word for Lord (Neb), here rendered in the feminine dual form Nebty. The two ladies were Mother (Mut) Nekhebet and Lady Wajet. The vulture totem also personified the discipline of yoga symbolized esoterically by the oxs yoke (nekhebet) and the lotus flower of kundalini yoga (nekhebet). The cobra totem personified the awakening of the Eye of Wisdom (Wejat) through the rise of kundalini serpent energy into the brain and the realization of immortal youthfulness. The Golden Hawk a Name emphasized pharaohs essential immortality and equal status with the gods. The bench made of gold symbolizes the highest value and the incarnation of the suns light as a foundation for life with a solid physical form that does not decay. The hawk symbolizes the divine nature of the pharaoh as an expression of Ra, the Higher Self Sun. The Sultan-Basileus (Sut[en]-Bat[y]) tt Name declared pharaoh to be king who ruled over North and South Egypt. (Scholars often call this title the nesu baty, but su[r]ten Exalted One (ten) Magnified in Years (Se-Wer = Ser) is the proper reading of the first glyph, and nesu is a conventional metaphor for the king as his

Pharaoh Tarot Deck

Douglass A. White, 2010

Throne Name title that was often used as an interchangeable reading. Ser as Sar or Shar became a standard title for a king, noble, or elder in many parts of the ancient world. It survives in English as sir. The sedge glyph symbolized the king of the south. The bee glyph Bat was the symbol for the king of the north. The Greeks pronounced Bat as Bas () and added helios () which means sun and this evolved into the Greek title Basileus which means Sun-King. The Greeks called the capital of Northern Egypt Helio-polis (City of the Sun).) The Son of the Sun )@ (Sa R@) Name declared pharaoh to be an avatar son of Ra, the Higher Self Sun and therefore a man possessing an expanded awareness that would empower him with the vision to care for all the people compassionately and wisely. The Egyptian concept of an avatar was different from that of the Tibetans. The Dalai Lama is considered by his followers to be an incarnation of a great Bodhisattva of Compassion born to lead the people of Tibet. Each time he passes from the body he then reincarnates in the body of another male child. As the pictures below illustrate, the Egyptian pharaoh was considered an emanation of the sun, but not of a single bodhisattva or deity. Otherwise, how could Sety and Rameses be seen together? The Egyptian idea was more fluid. Each person was an emanation of Ra. Each member of the royal family was a special emanation of Ra endowed with the wisdom and skill to lead the country. An individual could identify with any of the emanations of Ra, and a pharaoh specifically identified with Horus as a living pharaoh, and then became Osiris when he died. His names and titles would also indicate other identifications. For example, just from their titles we find that Sety identified with Ra, Set, Baba, Maat, and Ptah; while Rameses identified with Ra, Maat, and Amen.

The 5 Royal Titles of Sety I

Horus Name:

{_ {_{_G_*_?_m_s_1_
Ka-Nekhet Kh@-em-Waset-Se-@nekh-Tawy Mighty Energy Crowned in Thebes Who Brings to Life the Two Lands Nebty Name: ++r <;3++r*)9 Wehem-Kh@u Sekhem Pekhety* Der-Pesejettyu Pesej Repeating Riser, the Power of Baba Who Expels the Nine Bow-wielding Tribes Golden Hawk Name: <;/*m{ Wehem-Kh@u Weser-Pedjut-em-Taw-Nebu

Pharaoh Tarot Deck

Douglass A. White, 2010

Repeatedly Arising Wizard of Bowmen in All Lands Prenomen (Sultan-Basileus Name):

Men-Ma@t-R@ Foundation of the Truth of the Higher Self Sun Nomen (Son of the Sun Name):

oo (_%H_,_,_oo )
Sety Mer-en-Peteh Stubborn One, Beloved of the Opener * The title Pekhety can be translated as Doubly Mighty, but is also an epithet of Hew, Yoga Master of Taste, who in turn is an avatar of Baba, the Oxymoron of Transcendental Consciousness. The glyph of the leopards head can be read ba, and doubling of it provides a covert way of writing the name Baba. Baba (Oxymoron: play within the unity of absolute transcendence and relative consciousness) and Set (Illusion: solid matter caused by mutually resisting contrasting viewpoints) are close friends and in some ways identical, so this is an appropriate title for Sety. The name Pekhety also recalls Ramesesu I, the founder of the 19th dynasty and father of Sety. Rameses I used the term in his prenomen, Men-Pekhety R@ [Doubly Mighty Foundation of the Higher Self Sun], as did Ahmose I, the founder of dynasty 18, who took the prenomen, Neb-Pekhety R@ [Doubly Mighty Lord of the Higher Self Sun], while Thutmose III used Sekhem Pekhety [Doubly Mighty Power] as part of his Golden Hawk Name.

The 5 Royal Titles of Rameses II

Horus Name:

{_ {_{_=_*_[_^
Ka-Nekhet Mery-M@at Mighty Energy Beloved of the Truth Goddess Nebty Name:

_t:uf*6 :uf
Mek-Kemet W@-f Khasut Protector of Egypt and Unifier of the Foreign Lands Golden Hawk Name:

Weser Renput @a-Nehktu Wizard of Years and Great of Powers Prenomen (Sultan-Basileus Name):

Pharaoh Tarot Deck

Douglass A. White, 2010

Weser M@at R@ Setep-enR@ Wizard of the Truth of the Higher Self Sun, Chosen by the Higher Self Sun Nomen (Son of the Sun) Name:

ss (_@_o__#_ss") ss")
R@-Meses Mery-Amen Ever-born of the Higher Self Sun and Beloved of the Invisible One

The King Lists

The king lists prepared by Sety and Rameses specifically included only the pharaohs whom they considered to be fully legitimate. Kings who only ruled a portion of Egypt, all kings of dynasties 9-10, as well as dynasties 13-17 (local rulers during the first and second intermediate periods when Egypt was fragmented) were excluded. The heretical pharaohs such as Akhenaten, Smenkhare, Ay, and even Tutankhamen were also deliberately left out. Hatshepsut was omitted in spite of the fact that she was an extremely competent ruler because Sety and Rameses considered her to be only the regent for Thutmose III. Thutmose III appears in the list and plays a vital role in the development of the cultic kings list promoted by Sety and Rameses. Below are drawings of the complete lists prepared by Sety and Rameses.

Setys List of 76 Royal Names

(Source: Wikimedia Commons; figures from Encyclopedia Biblica, 1903; cartouches prepared by PLstrom)


Pharaoh Tarot Deck

Douglass A. White, 2010

This list survives in Setys mortuary temple at Abydos. The first two registers of the list contain 38 kings each, to be read from left to right. Sety is the last king in the list on the far right of the second register. The third register consists of iterations of Setys Suten Baty (prenomen) and Sa R@ (nomen) cartouches, suggesting that Sety is the embodiment of all the kings. Thus there are 76 different kings on the list. The persons standing next to the kings list are Sety I together with his young son and heir Rameses. They are making a ritual offering to the list of kings and reciting the list as a ritual litany similar to and perhaps even parallel to the Litany of Ra. If we include in the list Rameses, the prince who succeeded Sety to the throne and probably ruled Egypt longer than any other pharaoh, then we have a total of 77 kings. Setys Sa Ra cartouche is spelled in an unusual way. Instead of the glyph for Set,

Sety substitutes the glyph Thet * which stands for the knot of Isis, and is code for her name. He thus spelled his name with a lisp: Thety Mer-en-Peteh. This identification with Isis rather than Set was probably in deference to the location of his temple in Abydos, the traditional site where Set murdered Osiris, husband of Isis, according to the ancient myth. On the old Senet Game Boards and in other contexts the Thet knot coded for Isis, and the Jed pillar 4 stood for Osiris. By building his temple in Abydos, Sety was consciously aligning himself with the orthodox Osirian tradition to distinguish himself from the unorthodox Atenistic bias of the Amarna period. His temple contains chapels to Osiris, Isis, and Horus, the Osirian triad as well as the Amen, Ra-Horakhty, Peteh triad that was emphasized by the Ramesside era pharaohs. Sety may have chosen the unusual name that he took because his family came from humble origins, and he wanted to assert that Set also was a Son of the Sun, or at least a grandson of the sun.

Rameses List of 78 Cartouches

Below is a drawing made by Mariette to reconstruct the list of Rameses II. The jagged black line indicates the edges of the surviving artifact. The rest of the list has been restored from earlier drawings and the matching list in Setys temple.

Pharaoh Tarot Deck

Douglass A. White, 2010


The list of Rameses has four registers, and reads from right to left.

On the far left

the illustration is lost, but we can still see the leg of a seated person probably Rameses. Each register has 26 royal cartouches, and the fourth register (bottom row) contains the Suten Baty and Sa Ra names of Rameses alternating back and forth. The total number of cartouches in the top three registers is 78, but the last two on the far left of the third register both belong to Rameses, so there are really only 77 individual kings in the list. The Suten Baty name of Rameses is Weser M@at R@ Setep en R@ (The Wizard of the Truth of the Higher Self Sun Who is Chosen by the Higher Self Sun). The Sa Ra name (given name) is R@-meses Mery-Amen (The Higher Self Sun is Reborn Again and Again, Beloved of the Invisible One). Alternatively we can read the royal given name as The Ever-Reborn [Avatar], Beloved of the Invisible Higher Self Sun. The Sa Ra name of Rameses is the final one on the list in both the third and fourth registers. From this we know that the 78th name on the list is to be understood as Ra, the Higher Self Sun, in his avatar embodiment as Rameses. In Setys list Rameses plays the same role, but appears as a young prince wearing the braid that identifies him with Ahy, the son of Hathor and young Avatar of the Higher Self Sun. Usually Ahy holds the sistrum of Hathor to indicate he is her son and devotee. In the illustration Sety carries an incense holder and young Rameses holds what appears to be a papyrus scroll from which he chants the litany of royal kings as an offering to their ancestor avatars as Sons of the Sun.

Pharaoh Tarot Deck

Douglass A. White, 2010


Ahy holding up a sistrum of Hathor The text next to the young Rameses says: A laudatory invocation by the prince, the honorable Rameses, the royal son, first-born to his beloved body.

ZAHQvnOG)smsn~fff#sZss )smsn~ #sZ

Sety initiates the Litany with the following words: Words spoken by King Menmaetre (Sety I). Bringing the god to his food offering, the making of offerings for the kings of Upper and Lower Egypt. Greetings to thee, Ptah Sokar (Osiris), who is South-of-His Wall! Come, that I may make for thee these (things) which Horus made for his father Osiris. (translation by Thomas F. Mudloff)

(Detail from Sety I Kings List; Setys left hand points at his speech. Each of the six lines begins with the jed medu formula, indicating that this is mantra recitation. Note the writing of Setys name as Thety in the Sa Ra cartouche on the far left.)

Origin of the Litany of Ra

The Litany of Ra first appears in the tomb of Weser-Amen (Useramen, TT 61), who held the office of Vizier for upwards of 30 years during the 18th dynasty reign of Thutmose III starting from early in the Hatshepsut regency while Thutmose was very young. Weser-Amen was the son of Amenthu, also called Ahmose, who was Vizier under Thutmose II, and Weser-Amen was succeeded in his office by his nephew Rekh-ma-Ra. This suggests the powerful influence this noble family must have had in the 18th dynasty royal court. Weser-Amens name means The Invisible Ones Wizard, and he must have been very literate and well educated in order to hold such

Pharaoh Tarot Deck

Douglass A. White, 2010


a high position for so long under one of Egypts most powerful pharaohs, renowned for expanding the influence of Egypt in the ancient world and for major additions to the Great Temple at Thebes. Weser-Amen is the only commoner with the Litany in his tomb. He also has the earliest extant version. All other fairly complete copies were found in the tombs of pharaohs. Surviving copies of the Litany of Ra are found in the tombs of nine 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasty pharaohs beginning with Thutmose III and later followed by Sety I and Rameses II, who apparently chose to elevate the Litany composed by Weser-Amen under the patronage of Thutmose to a special status in the 19th dynasty. The other copies of the text were found in the tombs of Merenptah, Sety II, Siptah, Rameses III, Rameses IV, and Rameses IX giving us a total of ten fairly complete copies that survive, with allusions and quotations also appearing in a number of other times and places, including two sections transcribed at the Temple of Rameses II in Abydos. This indicates that the Litany of Ra was in vogue at the highest levels as a document exclusively used for pharaohs (except for Weser Amen, the apparent author of the text) for around 300 years from about 1400 BC to nearly 1100 BC (from Thutmose III until Rameses IX). The Litany was not popularized in the manner of the Pyramid Texts that gradually were adapted into Coffin Texts and eventually became the Theban and Saite Book of the Dead scrolls.

The King List Deck and Theme-based Playing Cards

During childhood one of my favorite past-times with my siblings was the well-known card game Authors. This traditional deck that has been in use for about 130 years consists of one author for each of the 13 cards of an ordinary poker deck: Twain, Dickens, Thackeray, Stevenson, Shakespeare, Cooper, Irving, Hawthorne, Longfellow, Tennyson, Alcott, and Poe. Each of the four poker suits presents one of four important works by the author. Authors is a special theme-based poker deck, and all poker decks are descended from the earlier Tarot decks. Another more recent theme-based deck is Composers with cards for Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Grieg. There is also a deck of Scientists. Recently we also have President playing cards. Deck I contains the first 13 presidents from Washington to Pierce. Deck II contains 13 more presidents from Buchanan to Harding. Deck III has 60 cards and currently covers 15 presidents from Coolidge to Obama. The earlier edition only went through George W. Bush. At least two other versions exist: one called The Presidents Playing Cards (by Arcturus, LLC) with all 44 presidents in one deck, and another I have encountered on the Internet called the Presidents Rummy

Pharaoh Tarot Deck

Douglass A. White, 2010


deck. Below are thumbnail images from Internet sellers of Authors and the Presidents series card games published by U.S. Games.

These playing cards especially the president theme cards -- are direct descendants of the Tarok deck invented by pharaohs Sety and Rameses as a royal spin-off of the Egyptian Angel Tarok developed by Grand Vizier Weser-Amen and pharaoh Thutmose III (Men-Kheper-R@ Tehuty-Mese). Of course today there are many popular Angel themed decks, such as Doreen Virtues Archangel, Ascended Master, and Fairy decks.

Litany of Ra Authorship
The historical circumstances around the first appearances of the text suggest that it very likely was commissioned by Thutmose III to be written by or under the guidance of his Vizier Weser-Amen. Thutmose III was the sixth pharaoh of the 18th dynasty. His titles are as follows: Thutmose III Horus name: Ka-nekhet Kh@-em-Waset Mighty Energy, Crowned at Thebes Nebty name: Wah-Nesyt [R@-ma em Pet] Whose Throne is Placed in Heaven, Like the Higher Self Sun Golden Falcon name: Sekhem-Pehety Jeser-Kh@u Doubly Mighty of Power as Sacred Arisings Prenomen: Men-Kheper-R@ Creative Foundation of the Higher Self Sun Nomen: Jehuty-Mese Avatar of Cosmic Intelligence Many of the figures that appear in the Litany of Ra also survive carved on seals made in the shape of sacred scarab beetles. The largest number of scarab seals has the prenomen of Thutmose III (Men-Kheper-R@) on it. Commemorative seals were made bearing his name for over 1000 years. This suggests that Thutmose III was

Pharaoh Tarot Deck

Douglass A. White, 2010


somehow deeply connected to a tradition of divination. People could divine using slips of papyrus stamped with such seals or they could draw the seals from a pouch containing a collection of them in the same way that we draw cards from a shuffled deck of Tarot or other playing cards. (Note: as far as I know no examples of papyrus with stamped impressions on them have survived, so this is speculation. The carved seals seem to have been used as amulets, decorative jewelry, and possibly as divinatory tokens. Perhaps future archaeological finds will resolve the puzzle of why we lack examples of printing since so many carved seals with flat or roller surfaces survive and Egyptians used papyrus extensively as well as ostraca, but not so much clay tablets suitable for impressed images.) In recognition of his contribution to the creation of the Litany of Ra Weser-Amen was allowed to have a special personal copy of this royal solar cult text in his tomb. Weser-Amens edition is uniquely in the first person, suggesting that this was the original way the text was composed. The pharaohs then usually inserted their royal cartouches in the place of the first person pronouns.

Contents of the Litany

The Litany of Ra consists of 75 avatars of Ra, plus the special images of the crocodile Sebek, the serpent Apep/Set, and the namesake Ra who is the source of all the Litany figures. Taken together the 75 avatars plus Ra and his two associates constitute 78 transformations of the Higher Self Sun from his Invisible Amen state into various creative archetypes of expression. In the comments that I wrote to accompany my translation of the Litany of Ra I proposed that the 78 transformations of Ra formed the earliest known stage in the development of what later came to be known as the full-sized Tarot deck. Before that time divination usually was done with the Senet Oracle Game Board, examples of which go back to the first dynasty, although explicit depiction of divination rather than gaming only appears in the New Kingdom era. An excellent example of divination can be seen in the tomb of

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Nefertary, first wife and queen of Rameses II.

Other well-known illustrations of

Senet Board divination appear in the Book of the Dead (see the editions of Any and Hunefer). The Senet Board has only 30 squares, so the earlier divination was done using the 22 trump deities plus 8 secondary deities who probably are transformations of the Primordial Ogdoad into the four Sons of Horus and the four Lords of the Senses. There may also have been a system of divination using the various amulets that were associated with the gods. The 78-card Litany of Ra set combined a selection of the most popular amulets with the trump and secondary deities. I also theorize that the original name for the Tarot was Tarok as it still is called today in many European countries, and I suspect this name derives from the Egyptian expression da rekh Dx, which means to enable someone to know something. Sety seems to have originated the creative idea of identifying the divine archetypes of the Litany of Ra with the historical kings of Egypt. He probably was motivated to do this because his father, Rameses I had been a commoner handpicked by the heirless final king of the 18th dynasty, Horemheb, to begin a new dynasty. He wanted to demonstrate that he was a legitimate ruler according to the ancient way of the kings that united Egypt and distance himself from the Amarna troubles that had torn the later portion of 18th dynasty into disarray even in the name of Akhenatens attempts to unify the country under his monolithic cult of Atenism. Sety decided to link his reign to that of Thutmose III, the greatest leader at the height of the 18th dynasty by reviving the Litany of Ra of Thutmoses reign and applying it specifically to the theme of the great pharaohs who had united Egypt, kept her united, and maintained her ancient traditions. He chose the ancient cult site of Abydos for his great temple because pharaohs from the beginning of the first dynasty had come there to identify with Osiris as the spiritual patriarch of ancient Egypt. He recognized how Weser-Amen and Thutmose had expanded the archetypal Senet Oracle Game Board of 30 temples into the 78 Da Rekh (i.e. Tarok) avatars of Ra when they created the Litany. Sety then evolved and applied the Tarok system developed by Weser-Amen and Thutmose by connecting the 78 archetypes to 78 of the greatest pharaohs who had led Egypt up to his time. This idea of theme-based correspondences to the Tarok has persisted even to our own day so that we now have decks that correlate to various mythologies, historical figures, movie characters, and any number of other fanciful themes.

Pharaoh Tarot Deck

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Setys idea definitely was not far fetched, because the pharaohs already had elevated themselves to the status of gods and particularly saw themselves as Sons of Ra. Linking the history of Egypt and its most august rulers to the Tarok Litany of Ra and displaying them publicly in the holy site of Abydos also served as an excellent propaganda device for the royal family and for preserving the national culture of Egypt. Perhaps it is coincidence, but when Sety conceived his idea, he already had a brilliant son, Rameses, that he was grooming as his successor. The sons given name was Rameses Mery-Amen (named after the boys grandfather), and the royal title the boy took as pharaoh was Weser-Maat-Ra. It is curious that each of these names of Rameses includes one of the components of Weser-Amen, the Learned Vizier who apparently originated the Litany of Ra.

Cultic Tradition of the Litany of Ra

Collier and Manley mentioned in the sentences quoted at the beginning of this article that the kings list may reflect cultic tradition. Other writers on Egypt, such as Mudloff and the source that he cites, have also suspected a special cult status was coming into play. As I mulled the implications of these two words with respect to the Litany of Ra, the Abydos Kings List, and the development of the Tarot suddenly my whole body broke out in goose bumps. Perhaps there not only was a cultic tradition but there was an extremely powerful and magical organization of wizards maintaining the cult tradition quietly in the background of history. How would you like some hard evidence of this claim? We know that the ancient Egyptians practiced an elaborate cult of ancestor veneration which required that the body of a dear family member must be mummified and then buried with great honor. Egyptian funeral ceremonies were elaborate and the wealthier families constructed special tombs (such as mastabas, pyramids, or cave labyrinths) to house the sarcophagus with its mummy and sumptuous caches of burial goods. The family then continued to make regular offerings to the deceased as long as the family survived in Egyptian society. The pharaohs and their immediate family of course received the most opulent burial treatment. This tradition so dominated life in Egypt that it was common to greet a person by wishing them Qereset Neferet a beautiful funeral! The fundamental paradox faced by a people with such an elaborate funereal tradition was that the treasures buried with a wealthy person obviously attracted the attention

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of grave robbers. The more opulent the funereal trappings, the more attractive the tomb was to grave robbers. This led the Egyptians to develop elaborate methods to seal and conceal the tombs of the pharaohs in clever ways. Granite plugs blocked entrances and false doors were supposed to mislead invading looters. Unfortunately the robbers simply tunneled around the plugs and inevitably found almost all the buried treasure. By the time the archaeological looters arrived almost all the real treasure had been stolen. What remained were only a few lucky finds that the efficient robbers somehow had missed and mostly those finds were not of pharaohs. The odds were always heavily stacked against a pharaohs tomb surviving intact. Even the mummies of the pharaohs were physically ransacked by looters because of the cultic tradition of placing precious amulets in sacred layouts on (or even inside) the mummy itself and at various key places in or on the wrappings. Once we know that the amulets represented sacred Tarok cards, the mummy placings become obvious Tarok layouts, not done as divination, but as sacred synergetic protection for the mummy of the deceased. These layouts can be read just like Tarok readings.

We find that of approximately 300 pharaohs who ruled Egypt through a period of over 3000 years only about 42 mummies or parts of mummies of the pharaohs have managed to survive the ravages of the looters. (See a detailed list at Of the 42 survivors, 6 are questionable and 9 survive only as fragments. Both before and after the Litany of Ra period (18th and 20th dynasties) the survival rate of royal mummies is extremely low. Amazingly all 9 of the pharaohs who put the Litany of Ra in their tombs have survived as mummies. Some had their bodies damaged by the ransacking looters, but an organized team of priests apparently moved the mummies of these special pharaohs along with family members and other pharaohs of their dynasties to safe cache locations. Thus today you can see all 9 of the Litany pharaohs on display in the mummy room of the Cairo museum.

And Here Are Their Photographic Portraits!

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Thutmose III Founder of the Litany of Ra Tradition

Seti I

Ramesses II


Seti II


Ramesses III

Ramesses IV

Ramesses IX

This august gallery of pharaohs from over 3000 years ago is absolutely unheard of in world history. The faces of these men shine with power and intelligence even today in spite of the rough treatment they have received at the hands of brigands. The amazing vitality of Seti I is impossible to ignore and shines on today. The nonagenarian Ramesses II is awesome to behold and his colossal granite statues still dominate the land of Egypt. Another interesting detail is that of the Ramesside pharaohs who took the name Rameses, we have Rameses I, II, III, IV, V, VI, and IX. We are missing only the later ones VII, VIII, X, XI, and XII, all of whom lacked the Litany of Ra. We also have both Seti I and II. Below are scenes from the tombs showing the various pharaohs being initiated by Ra into the cult tradition of the Litany.

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Sety I (KV 17)

Ramesses II (KV 7)

Merenptah (KV 8)

Sety II (KV 15)

Siptah (KV 47)

Ramesses IV (KV 2)

Ramesses IX (KV 6)

Initiations of Ramesside Pharaohs into the Litany of Ra Ra Horakhty blesses the pharaohs with the breath of eternal life as his immortal avatars on earth. He holds the ankh in his left hand and was in his right hand. Often a jed pillar and ankh emanates from the was and points at pharaohs nose to give him a new breath of life. The Jed-ankh combination forms the Nen Winter Solstice sign. From Winter Solstice the sun is reborn and expands again to life. Of the 77 separate pharaohs on the Cult List we have at least some portions of the mummies of Jer (Djer #3), Jeser (Djoser #16), Seneferu (#20), Menkaure (#24), Shepseskare (between #28 and #29), Djedkare (#32), Wenas (Unas #33), Teta (#34), Pepi (#36), Merenre (#37), Mentuhotep II (#57 and one of his wives, Ashayet),

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Ahmose I (#66), Amenhotep I (#67), Thutmose I (#68), Thutmose II (#69), Thutmose III (#70), Amenhotep II (#71), Thutmose IV (#72), Amenhotep III (#73), Smenkhare (Amarna figure, not on list), Ramesses I (#75), Seti I (#76), and Ramesses II (#77, #78). Except for Shepseskare (5th dynasty ruler who ruled between A-Kawy [Kakai] and Nefer-f-re, who are both on the list), Hor and Taa II (13th and 17th dynasty kings respectively), the shadowy short-lived Amarna king Smenkhare, and the other short-lived boy king Tutankhamen, all the kings up through Ramesses II whose mummies survive in part or in whole are on the kings list, a total of 21 kings out of the 77 separate kings listed by Ramesses II and a total of 21 out of the 26 up through Ramesses II whose mummies survive to some extent to our day. Furthermore, four out of the five pharaohs from the 5th and 6th dynasties who preserved the Pyramid Texts appear on the list and managed to preserve at least a few of their bones in their thoroughly pillaged pyramids. Some such as the mummy of Ramesses I have survived strange journeys. This accounts for over 27% of those on the list. What is it about this particular group of kings that gives them such staying power that is unheard of in human history?

The King Lists of Sety I and Ramesses II

Now let us explore the king list selected by Sety and compare it to the Litany of Ra. The question that arises is whether there is any correlation between the kings and the cards of the Litany. I suspect that there may not be any detailed relationship for several reasons. First, Sety and Rameses lived many years after the time of Weser-Amen and Thutmose. More importantly the pharaohs of the 18th and 19th dynasties may have known about as much as we do regarding the lives and personalities of the ancient pharaohs of the old kingdom which is often very little. At best there would only be the general notion that the divine archetypes of the Litany are expressions of Ra and the pharaohs are also expressions of Ra and possibly there is some link with the glyphs of the ancient names. The following clear photographs of the Sety I Kings List are from the Wikimedia Commons and were made by Rudolf Ochmann (Ochmann-HH) in 2006. I have transcribed the names in the cartouches using my unorthodox system and added a rough attempt at a translation of each name. The cartouches give the Throne Name rather than the personal Son of the Sun name that most people are familiar with through the literature, so they already will seem unrecognizable in most cases. I add a more familiar transcription in the right column and a rough translation below.

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Dynasty 1

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

A-men A-tet Tat

(N@r-mer) Kher-@ha Jer

Dear Foundation; Invisible One; Beloved Fool (Menes, Narmer) Dear Image (Kher-aha) Emanation; All (Djer) The Person (Djet) Two Nomes; Distinguished (Den) Babas Beloved; Beloved of the Strong Place; Bright Heart (Anedjib) First Born / Lord of Taste Heaven (Semerkhet) (Qaa)

Ata Jet Septy Den Mery Baa-pe @nej Ab Semesu/Hew Smer-kha Qebeh Qe@

Dynasty 2



Hetep-Sekhemuy @-Neb En-Neter Weneg Senej (Beby)

Ferrying Place ; Experience of 2 Powers Virile Energies; *Kakau Divine Mind, Immortal Tongue The Heart of Osiris; Fear Chief [Beby] (Hotepsekhemwy) (Raneb) (Ninetjer) (Wneg) (Senedj) (Khasekhemwy)

10. Ka-bahu 11. 12. 13. 14. Ba-[en]-neter Waj-nes Sen-da Jajay

Dynasty 3

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15. Neb Ka 16. Jeser-Sau 17. A-Tet

Lord of Energy Sanakhte (Jeser I) Holy Protector ; (Netery Khet Jeser) Djoser Sekhem Khat Dear Image; Power of Body Sekhemkhet Makes Himself; Rising Mind Beautiful Ra Energy; Striker Khaba Huni

18. Sejes Kh@-Ba 19. Nefer-Ka-R@ Heweny Dynasty 4

20. Sneferu 21. 22. 23. 24. Khu-f-u Jed-f R@ Kh@-f R@ Men-Kau R@

Makes Beautiful Things His Amulets His Stability is Ra His Rising is Ra Foundation of the Energies of Ra His Energy is Venerable

Sneferu Khufu Djedefre Khafra Menkaura Shepseskaf

25. Shepeses Ka-f Dynasty 5

26. Weser Ka-f 27. Sahu R@ 28. 29. 30. 31. Akayu (A-Kaka) Nefer-f R@ En Weser R@ Men Kau Heru

His Energy is a Wizard The Toes of Ra (Orion)

Userkaf Sahure

Two Dear Energies Neferirkare Kakai His Beauty is Ra Neferefre Ra is For the Wizard Nyuserre [Ini] Foundation of Horus Energies Menkauhor Kaiu

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32. Jed Ka R@ 33. Wenas Dynasty 6

Stability of the Energy of Ra Djedkare Isesi As Existence (or As You) Unas

34. 35. 36. 37.

A-Tet Dear Image Teti Weser Ka R@ Wizard of the Energy of Ra Userkare Mery R@ Pepy Beloved of Ra; Brickmaker; (Traveler) Pepi I Meryre Mer en R@ Mehty em Sa-f Beloved of Ra; Caring in His Protection

Merenre Nemtyemsaf 38. Nefer Ka R@ Pepy Beautiful Energy of Ra Pepi II Neferkare I 39. Mer en R@ Mehety em Sa-f Beloved of Ra, Caring in His Protection Merenre Nemtyemsaf II Dynasty 7

40. Neter Ka R@ 41. Men Ka R@ 42. 43. 44. 45. 46.

Divine Energy of Ra Foundation Energy of Ra

Netjerkare Menkare

Nefer Ka R@ Beautiful Energy of Ra Neferkare II Nefer Ka R@ Neby Beautiful Energy of Ra, All-Inclusive Neferkare Neby Jed Ka R@ Shemay Stable Energy of Ra, the Foreigner Djedkare Shemai Nefer Ka R@ Khenedu Beautiful Energy of Ra, the Traveler Neferkare Khendu Mer-en-Heru Beloved of Horus Merenhor One Who Makes Energy Beautiful Neferkamin

47. Se-Nefer Ka Dynasty 8

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48. En-Ka R@ 49. Nefer-Ka R@ Tererru

For the Energy of Ra Nikare Beautiful Energy of Ra, the Worshipful Neferkare Tereru Beautiful Energy of Horus Neferkahor Beautiful Energy of Ra, the Healthy Brickmaker Neferkare Pepiseneb Beautiful One Who Beautifies the Energy Neferkamin Anu Bringer of the Energies of Ra Qakare Ibi Beautiful Energies of Ra Neferkaure II Beautiful Energies of Horus Beautiful Action of Ra Energy Neferkauhor Neferirkare

50. Nefer-Ka Heru 51. Nefer-Ka R@ Pepy Seneb 52. Se-Nefer Ka @nu 53. An Kau R@ 54. Nefer Kau R@ 55. Nefer Kau Heru 56. Nefer Ary Ka R@ Dynasty 11

57. Neb Hepet R@ Menthu Hetep

Lord of the Paddle of Ra; Nomad Pacifier Mentuhotep II 58. Se-@nekh Ka R@ Menthu Hetep Makes Alive the Ra Energy; Nomad Pacifier Mentuhotep III Dynasty 12

59. Se-Hetep Ab R@ 60. 61. 62. 63. Kheper Ka R@ Neweb Kau R@ Kh@ Kheper R@ Kh@ Kau R@

Makes the Heart of Ra Experience; Invisible One in Heart Amenemhat I The Energy of Ra Creates; Zen Wizard The Energies of Ra are Golden The Creation of Ra Arises The Energies of Ra Arise Senusret I Amenemhat II Senusret II Senusret III

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64. En M@at R@ 65. M@a-kheru R@ Dynasty 18

For the Truth of Ra The Truth Speaking of Ra

Amenemhat III Amenemhat IV

66. Neb Pehety R@ 67. Jeser Ka R@ 68. 69. 70. 71. @a Kheper Ka R@ @a Kheper en R@ Men Kheper R@ @a Kheperu R@

Doubly Mighty Lord of Ra; Born of the Moon Ahmose I Sacred Energy of Ra Amenhotep I Greatly Creates the Energy of Ra Creates Greatness for Ra Creative Foundation of Ra Great are the Forms of Ra Thutmose I Thutmose II Thutmose III Amenhotep II

72. Men Kheperu R@ Stable are the Forms of Ra Thutmose IV 73. Neb M@at R@ Lord of the Truth of Ra Amenhotep III 74. Jeser Kheperu R@ Setep-en-R@ Sacred Forms of Ra Chosen by Ra Horemheb Dynasty 19

75. Men Pehety R@ 76. Men M@at R@ 77. Weser M@at R@ 78. R@ Meses Mery Amen

Doubly Mighty Foundation of Ra Foundation for the Truth of Ra Wizard of the Truth of Ra

Rameses I Sety I Rameses II

Ever-Born Ra, Beloved of the Invisible Rameses II

Note how the first and last portions of the two names of Ramesses II (underlined in bold face) fit together to form the name of the author of the Litany of Ra.

Why 78?
We must now address the question of why the Da-Rekh (Tarok) organization settled on 78 avatars of Ra and 78 kings to embody those avatars. From pre-dynastic times

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the magic number had always been 30. That was the number of squares on a Senet Oracle Game Board, and that was the number of days in an Egyptian solar month. The number of days in a lunar month was just slightly under 30 (29.53059 days to be more exact), and there was a myth current in ancient Egypt to explain how the lunar month became foreshortened and why 5 extra days were needed (actually 5.25) to bring an idealized 12-month solar year of 360 days to its actual real-world value of 365. The myth had to do with the clever intelligence of Thoth and is told in many books and in articles sprinkled around the Internet, but I have never seen the myth properly explained so that the whole story made sense. According to the story the year originally was a nice even twelve months of 30 days each for a total of 360 days. Here is how Plutarch records the myth (excerpted from The History of Isis and Osiris With Explanations of the Same, Collected by Plutarch, and Supplemented by His Own Views. From Legends of the Gods The Egyptian Texts, edited with translations by E. A. Wallis Budge, London, 1912.) The words in parentheses are my clarifications of the Greek names for Egyptian gods. XII. Now, the story of Isis and Osiris, its most insignificant and superfluous parts being omitted, runs thus: -- The goddess Rhea (i.e. Nut), they say, having accompanied with Kronos (i.e. Geb) by stealth, was discovered by Helios (i.e. Ra) who straightway cursed her, and declared that she should not be delivered in any month or year. Hermes (i.e. Thoth), however, being also in love with the same goddess, in return for the favours which he had received from her, went and played at dice with Selene (i.e. Aah, the Moon Goddess), and won from her the seventieth part of each day. These parts he joined together and made from them five complete days, and he added them to the three hundred and sixty days of which the year formerly consisted. These five days are to this day called the Epagomenae, that is, the superadded, and they are observed by them as the birthdays of their gods. . . . (Osiris, Horus, Set, Isis, and Nephthys in that order.) As regards the fathers of these children, the first two are said to have been begotten by Helios (Ra), Isis by Hermes (Thoth), and Typhon (Set) and Nephthys by Kronos (Geb). Therefore, since the third of the superadded days was the birthday of Typhon, the kings considered it to be unlucky, and in consequence they neither transacted any business in it, nor even suffered themselves to take any refreshment until the evening. They further add that Typhon married Nephthys, and that Isis and Osiris, having a mutual affection, enjoyed each other in their mother's womb before they were born, and that from this commerce sprang Aroueris, whom the Egyptians likewise call Horus the Elder, and the Greeks Apollo.

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We learn from this story that Osiris (the Witnessing Seat of Perception) and Horus (the Will) were both really the children (i.e. direct avatars) of Ra (the Higher Self), whereas Isis (Feeling) was the child of Thoth, the Heart Master of Cosmic Intelligence. They are celestial deities and are keys to wisdom, compassion, and the Higher Self. Osiris was born from the womb of Nut (Cosmic Space), but Horus (the Will) was actually born from the womb of Isis (Feeling) with Ra/Osiris (the Higher Self Seat of Perception) as his father. Set (Illusory/Resistance/Suffering) and Nephthys (Bliss) were earthly deities sired by Geb (Physical Matter), and therefore are closely bound up with the physical body and the lower chakras. Deeper insights into these relationships can be gained by study of the Amduat, which is the detailed chronicle of Ras voyage through the night hours of Nut. The problem arose when Ra in his transformation as Shu (Shewe; Breath of Life) discovered that his children Nut (Cosmic Space) and Geb (Earth) whom he had sired with Tefnut/Sekhmet/Hathor/Mut (Love, Light, and Undefined Awareness) were having a secret affair. Shu then stood between them and separated them forming the earths atmosphere but disallowed Nut from giving birth to children in any month or year. According to the myth the solar month and lunar month were both 30 days and the year was 360 days long in those ancient times. If Geb and Nut could not give birth, then life and civilization could not arise on the planet, for the deities necessary to facilitate life could not be born. In Egyptian art we often find Ra in his avatar as Shu depicted in the act of pushing Nut up and away from a reclining Geb. The ironic aspect of this myth is that Shu (the atmosphere) is what connects earth and cosmic space, making life on the planet possible. Thoth (the personification of Cosmic Intelligence) had the clever ability to engineer the evolution of life and civilization on planets with the assistance of his wives Maat (Truth) and Seshat (Evolution). To provide the essential Egyptian deities needed to get Egyptian civilization going (plants, sunlight, fertile soil, desert, and irrigation), Thoth (probably in his disguise as Baba, the playful baboon, made a bet with the moon that he could beat her at the game of Senet. The stake was 1/72nd part of the light of the moon (Plutarch rounded it off to 1/70th part, which actually comes closer to the precise fraction needed). The numbers are important for understanding the story. The story is not myth, but math. The game of Senet was played on a rectangular chessboard with 30 squares arranged in three rows of 10 squares each. Each square represented a day, each row was an Egyptian solar week, called by the Egyptians a Met and called by the Greeks a

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dekan. The full set of three rows of ten squares made up a solar month. The twelve months of a year came to 360 days. The point of the myth is to show how Thoth managed to get a year of 365 days and a month of 29.53 days from a calendar board with 30 squares. Thoth being the most intelligent of all the gods obviously won the game and the moon was forced to give up 1/72nd of her light to add some extra days to the calendar year so that the five Egyptian national deities could be born. If we divide 360 by 72, the answer is 5. The last five squares on the right side of the bottom row of the Senet board became five special squares that represented the Epagomenal Days of the short 5-day 13th month at the end of each solar year. If we divide 30 by 72, we get 0.416666.... We subtract that from the idealized 30-day lunar month and get 29.583333... days, which is very close to the actual synodic lunar month of 29.53059 days. If we divide the actual solar year of 365.2425 days by the actual 5.2425 super added days needed, then we get 69.6695278969. When we divide 30 by 69.6695278969, we get .43060432452. Subtracting this amount from 30 days gives us 29.5693956755... days, which is even closer to the exact lunar month of 29.53059 days than 29.583333.... days. By this clever trick Thoth tweaks the Senet Boards idealized calendar of 30 days into both a practical solar and a practical lunar perpetual calendar. The Egyptians could alternate long and short lunar months of 29 and 30 days, depending on when the crescent of the new moon started to appear, just as, for example, the Chinese and Muslims do today in their lunar calendars,. On the Senet Game Board layout Thoth traditionally occupies the first square in the upper left corner. With his narrow curved ibis beak Thoth represented the thin crescent of the new moon that defined the first day of the lunar month. However, in his avatar as Kenmut the Foolish Baboon, he governed the first three dekans (set of 3 solar weeks of 10 days each) that define the first solar month of the solar year. That means in his crazy baboon form he was always the first to finish all 30 squares of the Senet Game Board and beat the moon while she was still unable to finish the 30th square. So a little less than half a day was lopped off her month and she found herself back at square one with Thoth already waiting there for her, papyrus and brush in hand to keep an accurate record of the passage of time. The Tarot/Tarok card decks evolved from the game of Senet, and even today our modern poker playing cards essentially form calendar decks, the 52 cards representing the weeks of the year, the four suits representing the seasons, and the 13 cards in each suit representing the approximate number of lunar months in a solar year. Four

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7-day weeks give a 28-day approximate lunar month, and 13 such months make a year of 364 days. The red joker is for the last day of the year, and the black joker is for leap day. The Tarok minor cards have 14 cards per suit. Two suits make a 28-day lunar month. It is an interesting coincidence that the number 364 is evenly divisible by both 13 and 14. We can see how the calendar math has evolved over the centuries, but the principle of a game that is also a calendar persists. The Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church both have perpetuated the idea of angel cards combined into a calendar, but assign a saint to each day of the year and encourage followers of the religion to contemplate the attributes of the saint on his or her day. Also a persons birthday becomes that persons saint day, and is a special meditation for the persons whole lifetime. These traditions evolved from the Litany of Ra and Senet Oracle Game Board meditation and divination traditions of ancient Egypt. The number 72 is important because it is twice 36, and 36 is the number of Egyptian dekans in a year. The epagomenal days form an additional half dekan used to complete the solar year. Thus each dekan divides into two halves of 5 days each for a total of 72 semi-dekans plus the epagomenal semi-dekan. Schallwer de Lubicz (The Temple of Man, v. 2, p. 931) points out that the number 72 is encoded in the architectural design of the Holy of Holies at Luxor Temple. The rooms width versus its length has the ratio of 9 to 8, whose product is 72. The height of each register relative to the foundation is , taking the foundation as 1. The three registers plus the foundation give 3+ 1, the total forming 7/8 of the wall height. Between the last line of the upper register and the frieze of uraei there is an interval corresponding to the difference between 1/8th and 1/9th, or 1/72th occupied by the standard border that constitutes the frame of the tableaux. this arrangement is unique to the Inner Sanctum. Schwaller finds that

Another derivation of 72 comes from the 6 components of the Lunar Eye of Horus

q that form the bifurcating fractions: 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64. These
components combine in various ways to generate 64 fractions of unity the Book of Changes as it existed in ancient Egypt long before it appeared in China. Thoth showed Horus how to reassemble the fragmented Eye into the wholeness symbolized by the full moon. When we add to that set of 64 fractions Thoths Ogdoad of Primordial deities, we get the number 72. When we add the four sons of Horus (the four classical elements) plus the principle of binary contrast (Min and Mut), we get a total of 64 + 8 + 4 + 2 = 78.

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The number 78 is also the 12th triangular number, which generates the pattern of a flat pyramid that can represent a year of 12 months in its 12 levels.

The Sun Pyramid with 12 Levels The square pyramidal number sequence is 1, 5, 14, 30, 55, 91, 140, 204, 285, 385, 506, 650, 819, . . . . The fourth number of the series is 30, the exact number of squares on the Senet Board, showing us how to transform the flat rectangular Senet Board into a 3-dimensional Egyptian-style square pyramid. We thus can obtain a year calendar from 12 Solar Month Senet Pyramids of 30 Solar Sphere days plus a Mini Epagomenal Pyramid made of 1 + 4 = 5 Solar Sphere days.. The sixth number in the square pyramidal number series is 91, the number of days in 13 seven-day weeks. Four times 91 equals 364, which is one day short of a solar year of 365 days. This looks very much like code for a poker deck of 4 times 13 = 52 weeks plus a joker for New Years day. If we add the sun itself as the Eye of Ra as that joker floating above our four pyramids of 91 solar spheres each, then we have a set of 365 suns or earth-days. Each pyramid can represent a cardinal direction and a classical element as well as a suit in our deck of cards.

1 + 4 + 9 + 16 Solar Spheres Stacked to Make a 30 Solar Sphere Square Pyramid (Public domain graphic by David Eppstein for Wikipedia Commons)

The Temple of Min at Luxor may provide further hints at the number 78 as it was conceived in the Egyptian tradition. The temple begins at the inner sanctum with a

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naos (inner sanctum) that has four columns, a design echoed again further out in the Offering Hall. Beyond this is a Portico with eight columns. Moving further outward we encounter a Hypostyle Hall with two sets of 16 columns altogether totaling 32 columns. Next we enter the Court of Amenhotep with 64 columns arranged in pairs around the perimeter. From the inner part of the temple to the Court of Amenhotep we have a structure that clearly represents in its architecture the Egyptian Book of Changes with the doubling that proceeds from the union of Min and Mut. Moving outward beyond the Court of Amenhotep we pass through a Colonnade consisting of seven pairs of colossal columns that represent the seven physical chakras of the human body as well as the thighs of the giant Min. Rameses II then expanded the structure further by adding a large courtyard that he built at a skewed angle in order to include a triple solar bark shrine erected in the 18th dynasty by Thutmose III to hold the processional boats of Amen, Mut, and Khonsu during celebrations. That Rameses went out of his way to integrate the Thutmose shrine into his courtyard rather than simply moving it or even removing it is significant, because Thutmose III originated the Litany of Ra. There appear to be 74 large columns in the courtyard plus 4 more that you can see from the aerial photo have been subsumed into the thick walls of the Thutmose boat shrine. Then there are 4 slightly smaller bud columns that grace the porch in front of the Thutmose boat shrine to express in visible form the 4 larger columns hidden in the Thutmose temple walls that demarcate the central room used for housing the boat of Amen during its visits. The four hidden columns represent the four immanent elements. The name Amen means hidden and the boat (waa D) stands for the meditation that takes attention into the hidden recesses of the mind. This gives us a grand total of 78 visible columns in the original Rameses II courtyard and beautifully integrates Rameses II with Thutmose III, the Litany of Ra progenitor.

4 Columns at the Entrance to the Thutmose III Sacred Boat Temple in the Rameses II Courtyard, Luxor Behind the Boat Temple are the Great Pylons of Rameses. Two obelisks once straddled the main entrance. The one not visible has been removed to Paris.

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The solar boat that would rest in the central room of the Thutmose shrine represents the Amen Meditation (Transcendental Meditation) because of the wordplay between the word for Boat (waa D) and the word for meditation (waa Ua). The boat belongs to Amen, the Invisible Reality that hides behind phenomenal reality. The colossal statues of the pharaoh between each pair of columns in the southern half of the courtyard suggest that each column is intended to represent one of the pharaohs on the sacred list of 78 pharaohs selected for special honor by Sety and Rameses. At present eleven colossi (some seriously damaged) stand between the columns and two others are seated on either side of the entrance to the Hypostyle Hall. connection between statues and columns is clear enough. The

As a person enters the temple and moves inward, the columns decrease from 78 to 64 to 32 to 8 to 4 that then splits into two pairs. Ultimately there is only the phallus of Min. This is the transcending phase of the meditation. On the way out the process reverses and one returns from unity to the world of diversity. The single identity of all the colossi in the Rameses Courtyard suggests a viewpoint of unity within diversity. The mirror reflection of the two Boat Chapels suggests that the outer physical world (Thutmose Boat Chapel) is a reflection of the inner mental world (Alexanders Boat Chapel).

Colossal Statue of Rameses Standing Between Columns, Luxor Photo taken by Hajor, Dec.2001 (Wikimedia Commons)

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Detail of public domain photo by Blalonde, 10 November, 2009 (Wikimedia Commons) In this vista of the Luxor Court of Rameses there are standing statues of Rameses between each column, and a pair of seated colossi on either side of the entrance to the grand colonnade.

Schwaller de Lubicz points out (Temple of Man, v. 2, p. 932) that if the first register on the west wall of the Holy of Holies has a height from the baseline to the boundary of the extended heaven glyph 2 at the top of the register of 100 units, then the distance to the tops of the heads of the kings and images of Amen is 72 units (see his plate 79 in Temple of Man that shows Amenhotep in various stages of making offerings to Amen, and the detail below from a photo showing a portion of a pillar with a similar scene).

In the photo detail you can see the king on the right making an offering to Amen, who wears a crown with tall feather ornaments that extend all the way to the heaven glyph at the top of the register. The register is four blocks in height, and each block is the same height. Thus the top of the third block up from the baseline is 75 units if we allow 25 units per block. The top of the kings head comes right where 72 units would be. The number 72 represents the 64 fractions of a lunar month plus the 8 Primordials of Thoth. It also represents the 36 half-dekans that make up the solar year that the physical body experiences. The final half dekan of 5 days takes one out

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of the crown chakra into the spiritual realm. The feather is an Egyptian symbol for thought. The icon thus depicts a meditation process in which the thoughts extend from the gross physical body to subtler and subtler, higher and higher levels of consciousness until they reach heaven and merge into pure undefined awareness that is compared to the sky that stretches overhead. The king offers pujah to Amen and the kundalini cobra (emerging from the kings brow) opens his Eye of Wisdom. Amens image is alternately tantric (ithyphallic) and conventional. The photo shows him in conventional mode. Schwaller further points out (Temple of Man, v. 2, p. 940 et al.) that the central axis of the temple extends from the center of the Inner Sanctum (Room I) and passes: Through the center of the Solar Journey room (Room XII with 12 pillars, one for each month); Through the center of the Inner Amen Boat chapel (Room VI); Through the offering room of the four elements (4 columns as the 4 Sons of Horus); Through the room of Thoths 8 Primordial Trigram Transformations (8 columns); Through the Hypostyle Room XVI with its two sets of 16 columns; Through the Peristyle transept court of Amenhotep with its 64 hexagram pillars arranged in pairs just like the sequence of hexagrams in the traditional Chinese Book of Changes; Through the gigantic colonnade (nave) of the 7 chakras; Through the Courtyard of Rameses with its 78 Tarok Pillars; Through the door of the Temple of Thutmose into the Chapel of Amens Boat. There the Axis of Amen perfectly bisects the inner wall of that chapel. The path in the aerial photo shown above has deviated slightly from the axis in order to parallel the colonnade, which is already slightly skewed and does not show the actual Axis of Amen. If we extend the axis through the Rameses Pylon, it then passes through the interior of the chapel of Isis in the Nectanebo yard to a point where a statue of Isis was recovered in the 1950s. If we reflect the Axis of Amen from the inner wall of the Thutmose Bark Chapel as if from a mirror, then the axis goes right down the skewed center of the Thutmose chapel, out the door, then and along a line diagonal to the main temple. If we extend it in a straight line until it passes outside the Inner Boat Chapel of Amen that was renovated by Alexander, a right angle drawn from the location of the boat in the

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chapel to the reflected line and a line drawn perpendicular to the main temple Axis of Amen and extended to the point intersected by the perpendicular from the boat to the reflected line, gives us a triangle that is similar to the large triangle formed by the Axis of Amen and its reflection. The ratio of the short leg to the hypotenuse for these triangles is 1/7 with an angle of 8 8.

Aerial View of Rameses II Courtyard, Luxor

(Columns in northeast corner are obscured by Abu el Haggag Mosque erected over them. Notice how the Courtyard is deliberately skewed from the main axis of the temple. The white arrow indicates the Axis of Amen, marked by the architects on the inner boat chapel floor.)

In this diagram the red arrow proceeds in a straight line from the center of the naos (8) to the center of the Amen Boat Chapel built by Thutmose (upper right corner of 2). That red arrow marks the Axis of Amen. The inner Boat Chapel (7) forms a mirror image of the outer Boat Chapel. Thus Thutmose placed his chapel geomantically, and Rameses had to skew his courtyard (2) in order to align it and its entry pylons with the important Thutmose structure that he wished to honor and preserve. The

Pharaoh Tarot Deck

Douglass A. White, 2010


blue arrow is the axis reflecting off the back wall of the Thutmose Boat Chapel. The green arrow connects the red arrow to the blue arrow from the Inner Boat parking spot, perpendicular to the blue arrow. The orange arrow is a perpendicular erected from the same parking spot to intersect the blue arrow. The little right triangle (green/blue/orange) is similar to the big right triangle (blue/green/red), but rotated 90 degrees. The big right triangle is also similar to another big right triangle (red/orange/green) but flipped as a mirror image. Schwaller describes in his monumental work the details of the fascinating long-distance mirror image reflection between the inner and outer Amen Boat Chapels in the iconography.

Above is a drawing by Lucie Lamy, who assisted de Lubicz in his analysis of Luxor Temple. Her sketch reveals the mathematics of the Naos Inner Shrine.

Pharaoh Tarot Deck

Douglass A. White, 2010


The pink arrows I have added represent the crossed scepters of the shepherds crook and the farmers flail in the mind of pharaoh. Each arrow is 10 units based on the unit defined by the distance from the center of room I (the central shrine) to the center of room VII (or room V), the two adjacent shrine rooms with pairs of pillars. Of course it is also the product of the diagonals of the two integer length rectangles. 2 5 = 10 The square root of 10 is the key to physics and geometry, and of course contains the number phi that governs the natural evolution of structures, as 5 does. = [(5 + 1) / 2] In modern science 10 governs the scale at which attention perceives phenomena and is reflected in the product of (h-bar, the reduced Planck constant and signature of the very smallest scale) and c (the speed of light and signature of the very largest scale) a constant that permeates quantum physics. Scientific notation makes use of powers of 10 as a means of expressing values at very large and very small scales.

Reference Materials for Further Study:

Other surviving kings lists include the Palermo Stone, the Turin Papyrus, the Karnak Tablet of Thutmose III in the Louvre (model for Sety I and Rameses II?), the Thunery Tablet (modeled after Sety I and Rameses II?), and Manethos List. Mudloff, Thomas F. I. The Royal Tradition in Upper Egypt from Menes to Sety

Available for download at

Schwaller de Lubicz, R. A. The Temple of Man: Apet of the South at Luxor. Translated from the French by Deborah Lawlor and Robert Lawlor with illustrations by Lucie Lamy. 2 Vols. Rochester, VT; Inner Traditions, 1998. White, Douglass A. The Pyramid Texts: Avatar Wizards of Eternity. Vols. I-XI currently available cover hymns 1-531. An introduction with a detailed transliteration, translation, and commentary. Available at or White, Douglass A. The Senet Tarot Oracle Deck of Ancient Egypt. A Tarot deck based on Dr. Whites reconstruction of the Tarot tradition in ancient Egypt. Available at

Pharaoh Tarot Deck

Douglass A. White, 2010


White, Douglass A. The Senet Game Text of Ancient Egypt. The hieroglyphic text plus a transcription, translation and detailed commentary on the classical Egyptian poetic text on the game of Senet. Available at and

White, Douglass A. The Litany of Ra (Tarok Naipe). The hieroglyphic text plus a transliteration, translation, and detailed commentary with copious illustrations of the earliest text that defined the 78 cards of the Tarot/Tarok deck. Available at or White, Douglass A. A Tour of Atlantis or What Happens in the Astral Realm (the Egyptian Amduat). Hieroglyphic text, translation, and detailed commentary with copious illustrations based on the original drawings of all 12 Hours. Available for free download at White, Douglass A. The Book of Changes (Holistic Change Maker). 2 Vols. Contains an in-depth introduction, the original Chinese text, plus a new translation with detailed commentary, many fascinating illustrations, exercises, and discussions. The Internet has many excellent websites that present material about ancient Egypt. Gradually the Egyptian records are becoming available, as well as quality visual documentation with digital photography and virtual computer restorations of the artifacts and architecture. This is a very exciting time in the development of Egyptology with new archaeological finds and scholarly discoveries occurring regularly. This article has a version number that begins with V1012.21. (December 21, 2010) Watch for future updates.