Princess of On

Esoteric interpretations of "words spoken by Osiris"



Its true that the Nauvoo publication of the "Book of Abraham"  involved "A TRANSLATION of some ancient Records [more than one] ... from the catacombs of Egypt" (Book of Abraham, Introductory Paragraph); but there was no papyrus scroll written by Abram among the ancient Egyptian records that Joseph Smith interpreted.

The Book of Abraham, as published by the Prophet Joseph Smith, is an inspired augmentation, a redacted and amplified restoration of an ancient text that was written by Abram "while he was in Egypt". But neither the original, nor a papyrus copy of Abram's writing came by mummy to "Latter Day" Kirtland, Ohio.

According to the Bible, the Hebrew prophet was not called "Avraham" (Abraham) when he sojourned in Egypt. He went by "Avram" (Abram) then. (Bereshit (Gen.) 11:17-18) Joseph Smith later replaced "Abram" appearing in earlier Book of Abraham manuscripts, with "Abraham", even though the Prophet knew that this change constituted an anachronism.

We now know that attempts at "TRANSLATION" culminating in the work "purporting to be the writings of Abraham", actually drew from:

(1) portions of the Hor Book of Breathings ,

(2) a round talismanic illustration (hypocephalus) accompanying the Sheshonq Book of the Dead (including a papyrus solar barge illustration copied from the lady Ta-sherit-Min's Book of the Dead), and

(3) a few symbols from the Amenhotep Book of the Dead, the inspired interpretation of which seems to connect with the account of "the daughters of Onitah" recorded in Abraham 1:11.

1842 Intro to Book of Abraham

Joseph Smith’s introduction to the Book of Abraham published in the March 1, 1842 edition of the Times and Seasons

All the Egyptian documents that came into the hands of Kirtland "Latter Day Saints" were  funerary documents - the kind of texts one would expect to find accompanying Egyptian mummies from Ptolemaic times. No Hebraic scrolls arrived with the mummies. This fact directly contradicts the sensational claims that Oliver Cowdery let loose from the press. (Messenger and Advocate, "Egyptian Mummies and Ancient Records", December 1835)

Elder Cowdery wrongly identified the Ta-sherit-Min Book of the Dead as the writings of the biblical patriarch Joseph. According to Brother Cowdery, the ancient text appeared to him to be written in a form of Hebrew. The scroll is actually written in hieratic Egyptian.

There was no scroll of Yoseph with the mummies. Such sacred Hebraic writings had long been lost to the world, and it would take something other than 19th Century Egyptomania to restore them. It would take what the Prophet Joseph Smith called "present revelation"! (Hauglid, Brian M. “THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM AND THE EGYPTIAN PROJECT: “A KNOWLEDGE OF HIDDEN LANGUAGES”)

LDS Scripture and the Joseph Smith Papers do not state that the Prophet had an ancient scroll of the Book of Abraham in his possession. The simplistic idea that the Book of Abraham was found on a mummy, was publically communicated by other brethren. Dubious statements on the subject (not clearly coming from Joseph Smith) found there way into LDS works like the redacted History of the Church - which has become something of an  embarrassment to LDS scholars.  The references to HC vol. 2, pp. 235, 236, 348-351 have been removed from the current, revised, and edited introduction to the Book of Abraham.

To repeat the Prophet's own words, the Book of Abraham is a work of "present revelation". (Times and Seasons, “Persecution of the Prophets”, September 1, 1842, Vol. 3, pg. 902) The coming forth of the Book of Abraham should be compared to Joseph Smith's translation of "a record made on parchment by John [the Apostle] and hidden up..." but brought forth (apparently without the tangible artifact) by revelation through the Latter-day Seer. (LDS Doctrine and Covenants section 7)

For reasons that may in part have to do with the interests of Joseph Smith's audience, the revealed Hebraic pearl that is the Sepher Avram (Book of Abram) was couched by Joseph Smith in an anachronistic, quasi Egyptian clamshell - an intriguing but unoriginal embellishment consisting of redacted facsimiles from more than one papyrus scroll, none of which were made by a Hebrew prophet.

None of the Egyptian papyri date to the time of Avraham. None of them deal overtly with the subject of the Hebrew prophet. So how could symbols from the Amenhotep Book of the Dead, for instance, be seen to relate to an account in the Book of Abraham? To understand this, we need to know some things about Joseph Smith's esoteric Egyptians, the "Ah meh strah ans". (Joseph Smith Egyptian Papers)

Order of "the Hidden Cubit" arm - "a" , "Amat-Sitrah", "אַמָת-סִתְרָה"

The published Book of Abraham has three facsimiles that derive from Egyptian funerary art. The second of these (a redacted hypocephalus) brings to mind a strange pearl inserted between the folds of revealed scripture. The original "pearl of great price" is the Hebraic text itself. The text of the Book of Abraham mentions only one "representation" including a set of "figures at the beginning". There is no mention in the scripture of two more facsimiles. The original illustration and "hieroglyphics" prefacing the Sepher Avram are lost to the ages.

Surviving copies of the sacred text were supplemented with suitable illustrations (reinterpreted) from available Egyptian funerary art.

Who would do such a thing? An esoteric society determined to preserve the Sepher Avram; a religious order claiming to be the keepers of a legacy dating back to "ha-Mitsrim", "the Egyptians" to whom Avram first communicated divine, cosmological knowledge. (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Ch. II.3, Ch. VII.2, Ch. VIII.2)

These are the "Ah meh strah ans" - the name coming from the Joseph Smith Egyptian Papers. We are talking about an esoteric society that celebrated religious syncretism; in particular, a society that recognized the Hebrew GOD. We are talking about "Egyptians" like those described in Yesha’Yahu (Is.) 19:21.

Addressing the readership of the Times & Seasons newspaper, it is understandable that Joseph Smith would refer to the "Ah meh strah ans" as simply "the Egyptians". This general term might with some appropriateness apply to a variety of peoples who settled near the Nile and its delta. Historically, Semitic Hyksos and Greeks could qualify as "Egyptians". But for more scholarly discussions on the Book of Abraham, greater specificity is called for. Fortunately the Prophet Joseph Smith gave us the name of the particular "Egyptians" we should be talking about in relation to the Book of Abraham.  

Though the Ahmehstrahans might have actually lived in, or near the second century BCE (Ptolemaic times), they apparently claimed to connect with the Egyptians (ha-Mitsrim) of Avram’s day. Hence the reference in Joseph Smith's "Grammar & Alphabet of the Egyptian [Ahmehstrahan] Language" to Abraham [Abram] being "forewarned of God to go down into Ah meh strah, or Egypt, and preach the gospel [b'sorah] unto the Ah meh strah ans".

Hieratic Egyptian did not exist in Avram's day. The text of the Book of Abraham appropriately makes reference to "hieroglyphics", not hieratic script. The esoteric, modified hieratic of Joseph Smith's "Egyptian" alphabet, dates his Ahmehstrahans. Consider also the fact that Joseph Smith's Egyptians appear to have been familiar with Hebrew and Greek. Though they claimed to be the keepers of terminology dating back to Adam, it is also clear that the esoteric society utilized linguistic innovations from much later times. Some of the Ahmehstrahan society would likely have congregated at Alexandria and frequented the great libraries.

The esoteric word for "Egypt", "Ah meh strah" appearing in the Joseph Smith Egyptian Papers sounds a little like the feminine Hebrew word for "Egypt", "Mitsrayimah" appearing in the biblical Abram account. (Bereshit (Gen.) 12:10)

The plural patriarchal name "Mitsrayim" might be related to the Hebrew word "matsor" connoting defensive or protecting borders - a bulwark or refuge provided by a mighty river, sea or a rock. (Yesha’Yahu (Is.) 19:6) But "Ahmehstrah" also sounds like "amah" + "sitrah" or "amat-sitrah" meaning "mother-city of protection (shelter, covering, hiding-place)".

The same Hebrew spelling of the word "amah" also means handmaid, cubit or ell. (Devarim (Deut.) 3:11)

"Sitrah" has a Hebrew root that suggests cover, hide, conceal, make secret. (Devarim (Deut.) 32:38) One may think of the scripture "..eternity was our covering and our rock..." (Abraham 2:16) The Ahmehstrahans may have perceived in the spanning band of the Milky Way a great heavenly arm concealing a truer cosmic center than the known precessing pole star. It is also possible that they perceived yet another starry forearm or cubit (amah) Yad of Aviv in the heavens, one which came out of hiding seasonally, as the first of four characters annually spelling out the divine name. (Iyov (Job) 40:9)

"Amat-Sitrah" might then have suggested to the Ahmehstrahan mind the veiled cosmic heart, the hiding place of Deity (the Elohim), the divine protecting arm, the celestial cubit, the covered bride of the heavens. See LDS Scholar Ed Goble, "Kolob Character Comparisons, Visual Affinities and Mythological Background".

The Prophet Joseph Smith was inspired to do what the Ahmehstrahans  did in preserving, and enhancing their version(s) of the ancient Sepher Avram. Joseph, like the Ahmehstrahans of old, borrowed from available Egyptian art a suitable substitute for the long lost "representation at the commencement" of the Sepher Avram. (Abraham 1:12-14) Joseph Smith was inspired to see in the first vignette of the Hor Book of Breathings the desired replacement, which he adapted. This is how the Book of Abraham started.

Beyond this, the first English manuscripts of the Book of Abraham show strange correspondence going on between the Book of Abraham text and samples of Egyptian characters copied from the commencement of the Book of Breathings.

The same kind of esoteric correlation exists between badly copied hieratic characters from the Amenhotep papyrus (a separate scroll), and a revealed account having to do with the Book of Abraham's "Onitah" or rather "On-i-tas" (spelled "Onitas" in the Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian [Ahmehstrahan] Language, pg. 5).

This strange correspondence is not a direct translation. It should be abundantly clear from the sparse selection of Egyptian characters tied to Joseph's "Translation", that the Prophet did not regard the Hor Book of Breathings, or any of the other papyri at hand as the actual source of the Book of Abram.

Let us take a look at the so called "translation" performed by Joseph Smith on the meager selection of symbols from the Amenhotep Book of the Dead. Sadly, the original papyrus is no longer available. On the subject of this text, LDS Scholar John Gee stated, "Some of the Book of the Dead of Amenhotep, son of Tanoub, is preserved only in a terrible copy in the Kirtland Egyptian papers Egyptian manuscript no. 6. ... The Ptolemaic hieratic has been copied by one of the brethren in Kirtland who had no idea what he was copying and did not recognize the same sign when he saw it again." (Gee, "A History of the Joseph Smith Papyri and Book of Abraham", FARMS, Book of Abraham Lecture Series, 1999, pg. 10) 

Joseph Smith's authoritative signature appears at the beginning of the note book containing the characters copied from the Amenhotep Book of the Dead.

Professor of Egyptology Robert K. Ritner has identified the hieratic symbols "some in mirror image" associated with Joseph Smith's "Translation".

Transcribed characters, 1835, pg. 2

Hieratic characters copied from the opening line of the Amenhotep papyrus, 1835

"Valuable Discovery of hiden reccords", 1835, pg. 3

The same (but modified) hieratic characters, "some in mirror image", in relation to Joseph Smith's "Translation" , 1835

Transliterating and then translating these hieratic characters, Ritner presents us with:

dd mdw in wsir "Recitations by Osiris". (Ritner, The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri - A COMPLETE EDITION, pg. 259-260)

It just so happens that the same Egyptian words appear above the raised hand of the goddess Maat (who serves to represent a "Prince of Pharaoh" in Book of Abraham Facsimile No. 3, Fig. 4.) depicted in the last vignette of the Hor Book of Breathings.

What do these hieratic characters look like when transcribed into Egyptian hieroglyphs? LDS Scholar Michael D. Rhodes has performed the much appreciated service of converting the hieratic signs to hieroglyphic Egyptian. (Rhodes, The Hor Book of Breathings - A Translation And Commentary, pp. 24-25):

Words spoken by Osiris

The hieroglyphic transcription reads from top to bottom, right to left (transliteration in blue):

dd mdw in Wsir = dd mdw in Wsir = "words spoken by Osiris"

On the right is an academically accepted translation of the symbols that the Prophet Joseph Smith interprets as meaning, "Prince of Pharaoh .." as written above the hand of the goddess of truth in Book of Abraham Facsimile No. 3, Fig. 4. (Hor Book of Breathings, last vignette)

As if that weren't challenge enough, the Prophet Joseph relates the same Egyptian characters (appearing in the Amenhotep papyrus) to the epitaph of a "Princess, daughter of On-i-tas Pharaoh King of Egypt...".

What in heaven's name is going on?!!

Lets make a list:

(1) First, note that the sense in which the hieratic Egyptian is read appears to have been understood by the Prophet Joseph Smith. Hieratic, like Hebrew, or like the apparent movement of the lunar phases (viewed from earth's northern hemisphere), progresses right to left. Joseph Smith got this right despite the "terrible" copying jobs performed by his unwitting scribes.

(2) Egyptian characters can be read in mirror image format.

(3) While Facsimile No. 3, Figure 4. has a female standing in for a "Prince", the Joseph Smith "translation" from the Amenhotep's papyrus  seems to associate a "Princess" with a male! The thing that is common to both cases is that Joseph seems to recognize in the apparently versatile symbols the theme of a child of Egyptian royalty.

(4) Notice that the title "Pharaoh" is struck from Prophet's ostensible "translation" of the characters. The use of the title "Pharaoh" describing a king of Egypt, is an anachronism in both the biblical Abram, and Book of Abraham accounts. Both accounts appear to be redactions of older writings. The biblical reference to "Pharaoh's house", or "bet Par'oh"  (Bereshit (Gen.) 12:15) is something of a redundancy, in as much as "Par'oh" in Egyptian means "Great House". (See for instance "Pharaoh", LDS BIBLE DICTIONARY)

What follows is the textual correlation ("Translation") that the Prophet Joseph Smith made with hieratic symbols (transcribed below as hieroglyphs) from the Amenhotep papyrus (transliteration in blue):

fiery serpent, saraph = "dd" Katumin, Princess, daughter of On-i-tas Pharaoh King of Egypt,

  papyrus reed, eveh water - N, Y'or = "mdw in" [copied in reverse order] who began to reign in the year of the world 2962.

= "Wsr" Katumin was born in the 30th year of the reign of her father, and died when she was 28 years old, which was the year 3020.

Notice how few Egyptian characters accompany the Katumin text. You don't have to read hieratic or hieroglyphic Egyptian to discern that the Egyptian symbols are not the source of the text. Joseph Smith probably didn't think the Egyptian characters were the source of the text either.

The numbers alone in the Katumin epitaph are more than the Egyptian symbols can account for. The numbers mentioned in the Katumin epitaph are: 2962, 30, 28, 3020.

Except for a possible correlation between the copied hieratic characters copied hieratic in Katumin text and the Ahmehstrahan symbols for the numbers 2 2 in Ahmehstrahan counting, and 8 8 in Ahmehstrahan counting, there doesn't appear to be much numerical correspondence between the hieratic characters and the  revealed epitaph.

Here is how the Ahmehstrahans (according to the Prophet Joseph Smith) represented the number 28:

 28 in Ahmehstrahan counting = 8 + 10 x 2. The Ahmehstrahan symbol for 10, called "Tah", appears to be a combination of the ancient cross mark, "tav" (making a "T" sound), and a hieratic circular sign (making an "h" sound).

28 is the age of the Egyptian princess when she died!

Here the Ahmehstrahan representation of the number 2 2 in Ahmehstrahan counting appears to be a combination of the hieratic "n" water ripple and the hieratic "i" reed signs:

i reed + n water ripple

This spells the Ahmehstrahan numerical name "Ni". This also happens to be the reverse of the Egyptian word "in", read in the opening line of the Amenhotep text. How could Joseph Smith have known such things?

Both the Ahmehstrahan counting system and standard Egyptian numerals are base 10 systems. Neither counting system features a numeric symbol for zero. Ahmehstrahan counting symbols are comparable to "Arabic Numerals". Did the esoteric Ahmehstrahan counting system, in northern Africa, somehow influence the base 10 system we use today?

The Prophet likely believed that the Egyptian signs on the papyrus only correlated with the revealed Katumin text, and that the signs did not completely contain the Princess' epitaph.

But not willing to grant so much common sense to Joseph Smith, Ritner cynically huffs, "Thus Smith's elaborate translation corresponds to only the first four words of [the Amenhotep text]"

Ah, but what might multilingual Ahmehstrahans have seen in these few Egyptian symbols?

The repetitive "d" sounds in "dd mdw" calls to mind the Hebrew equivalent "devarim diber" = "words spoken".

Each of the Egyptian picture symbols (hieroglyphs) can be related to a Hebrew word which the hieroglyph depicts. Let each hieroglyph stand for the first letter in the Hebrew word associated with the picture, and then let us see what word(s) the group of symbols spell out.

This approach is comparable to spelling Semitic words using the Protosinaitic aleph-bet. We will come to see that the Ahmehstrahan assignment of Hebrew letters to Egyptian symbols is more variable. The Ahmehstrahans became very adroit at expressing their religious syncretism through a kind of esoteric polysemy.

Interpreting Egyptian symbols the Ahmehstrahan way, is comparable to solving quadratic, or even higher order equations. Such equations typically have more than one solution (by analogy: interpretation or theme). A musical analog might be found in a Bach fugue - with its polyphonic, multiple musical melodies masterfully played together. Its ok for a verse or set of symbols to have several different meanings!

In the case of "words spoken by Osiris" written above the hand of the goddess Maat (as depicted in Book of Abraham Facsimile No. 3), one can invision a staff, or sign pole (Heb. "nes", נס) with a fiery serpent (Heb. "saraph", רף), the ripples of the Nile (Heb. "Y'or", יאוֹר), and a papyrus reed (Heb. "eveh",  אבה).

Appropriately rearranging the column of characters (in Facsimile No. 3) into a row, and taking the first letter of each word, a Hebrew word for "prince" appears: "n'si" (נשׂיא), as in "n'si Elohim", "prince of God(s)" - a description bestowed on Avraham by the children of Het (Heth). (Bereshit (Gen.) 23:6)

Prince of Osiris

The Hebrew/Egyptian characters may then be interpreted to read "prince of Wsr (Osiris, Pharaoh in the after life)" which can be seen as a reference to the sky god Horus (Hor). Hor happens to be the name of the owner of the papyrus Breathing Permit! For more meanings and discussion of Facsimile 3 see "JOSEPH SMITH LEARNS TO THINK LIKE AN AH-MEH-STRAH-AN" at the end of Note 4, in "Abraham in Egypt and the Papyrus Solar Ferry"

But how might a "Princess" be seen in these same symbols?

Serpent Crown

Look again at the first Egyptian sign correlating to the first line of the Joseph Smith Amenhotep "Translation":

fiery serpent, saraphis again seen as a "fiery serpent" or Hebrew "saraph". But "saraph" sounds rather like "Sarat ..." which means "Princess of ..." We might consider an instance of wordplay here.

Hebrew wordplay occurs frequently in the Bible. Consider the words "sarey Par'oh" translated "princes of Pharaoh". The word "sarey" may be seen as a play on words with the name of Avram's wife "Sarai" in the peccant scene of Bereshit (Gen.) 12:15. The Eternal would later take a letter "hey" (ה) from his own name and change "Sarai" to "Sarah" (שׂרה), "Princess".

Reading "saraph" as "Sarat ...", "Princes of ...", does seem to correlate with the first line of the epitaph: "..Princess ... of On-i-tas ..."

The Ahmehstrahan  symbol Modified Hieratic, which relates to the hieratic symbol dd, will be considered shortly. Suffice it to say that the sign Modified Hieraticrepresents the Ahmehstrahan word "kah tou mun".  Various meanings of this word apply to both Princess Katumin, and to a "Prince of Pharaoh, King of Egypt, as written [with the same sign] above the hand" of Maat.

What about the characters correlated with the next line of the Katumin epitaph? Here they are in hieroglyphic form:

  papyrus reed, eveh water - N, Y'or

The equivalent copied hieratic symbols in Joseph Smith's "translation" of this line are grouped in a curious manner. They are in reverse order characters copied in reverse order from how they appear in the Amenhotep papyrus characters copied in order from Amenhotep B. D.. That's strange! Why did Joseph Smith have his scribe copy the characters in reverse order? Could it be to facilitate a reinterpretation in Hebrew? Perhaps the letters are in proper order when read in Hebrew. If so they should be read right to left.

Let water - N, Y'or represent a "river", "nahar" (נהר) in Hebrew (e.g. the Nile). So the phonetic value of this symbol (in this case) is the same as it is in Egyptian - "n". The symbol then represent the Hebrew letter "nun" (נ). To the Ahmehstrahan mind, "nun" may recall Nu the Egyptian goddess of the primordial watery abyss.

Another Hebrew word for "reed" papyrus reed, evehis "suph" (סוּף), as in "Yam Suph" = "Reed Sea". "Suph" is spelled with a Samakh which connotes raise, support, be high, ascend. The Egyptian understanding of the papyrus pillars of heaven comes to mind. (See Figure 11. in Book of Abraham Facsimile No. 1)

The "walking stick hieroglyph" , "sign post", "pole" or "staff" ostensibly supporting the fiery serpent, looks very much likes the single "stroke sign". This symbol, curiously separated from the serpent in the Princess Katumin epitaph, can be associated with the number "one". The number "one" in Hebrew is represented by the letter "aleph" (א). Another Hebrew word for "sign" (אוֹת) is also spelled with an "aleph". 

Thus the Hebrew word "nasa" (נסא) with the rare but acceptable spelling "nun", "samakh", "aleph" arises. This word means lift up, raise up, or exalt as in raising up a "n'si", an "exalted one", "prince", "chief" or "ruler". The ascension of a king may be suggested. The ancient word "nasa" thus seems to tie in nicely with its associated line "who began to reign ..." in Joseph Smith's Katumin epitaph.

Lastly, we see the name of Osiris, the resurrected god "Wsir" , incorporating the "throne" symbol, and correlating with kings of Egypt and the afterlife. These symbols touch upon the last line of the epitaph: "... born in the 30th year of the reign of her father, and died when she was 28 years old ..."

There is more to be seen in these symbols, but we should first restore them to the order in which they appear in the Egyptian texts:

Transcribed characters, 1835, pg. 2 = dd mdw in Wsir

in Wsirto say words= dd-mdw in Wsir = "words spoken by Osiris"

Princess of The serpent and the pole together, may be reinterpreted (transtextually) to mean, "Princess of ...", or more oronymically, "Sarah aph", "Princess also".

The saraph (fiery serpent) raised up upon a pole (Bemidbar (Num.) 21:8) can, in this case, be looked upon as a single symbol signifying "Sarat ...", "Princess of ..." or the oronym "Sarah aph", "Princes also". It is understood that "sarah", "princess" is an "exalted person" - lifted up. So we have both a phonetic correlation (similar sound) and a thematic correlation (being lifted up). We may also recall an instance in Hebrew scripture in which a "rod", "staff" or "pole" became a "serpent". (Shemot (Ex.) 4:3) Thus both symbols may connote a serpent, or serpents.

Should we choose to see the serpent/pole sign as a "sign" (אוֹת), pronounced "ot", we may, with the addition of a Hebrew "vav" or "nail" (ו), see in "Sarat", "Sarot" = "Princesses" (more than one).   


papyrus reed, eveh, "papyrus reed", "eveh" in Hebrew is spelled with an aleph (א).

water - N, Y'or, "river", "nahar" in Hebrew is spelled with a nun (ן, נ at the end of words). Thus

water - N, Y'or papyrus reed, eveh then  spells "On" (אֹן), the Hebrew name of the Egyptian city "Heliopolis".  (Bereshit (Gen.)41:45)

may also be seen to represent "Egyptian royalty", "the divine throne". Thus

Princess of On≈ "Princess of On of the divine throne".

Egyptian syncretism, however, synthesized the resurrected god Osiris with the creator god Ptah. The Ahmehstrahans had the option of seeing Ptah superposed with, or in place of Osiris. They could then have read:

"ir" + god on the throne sign throne (referring to "Ptah"). Therefore

Princess of On≈ "Princess of On-Ptah (On-ir-Ptah)" which sounds rather like "Onitah" - the name appearing in the Nauvoo publication of the Book of Abraham. (Abraham 1:11)

It just so happens that the flag hieroglyph (Egyptian symbol for god), also has the phonetic value "ntr". The throne symbol as can make the sound "ws", "as" or "os" as in "Osiris". Thus

Sarat On-ntr-os≈ "Princess of On-ntr-as", which sounds like "Onitas", the name appearing in the Kirtland Egyptian Papers. To quote:

"... Coming down in lineage, in a line by onitas one of the royal families of the Kings the of Egypt." (Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian [Ahmehstrahan] Language, pg. 5)

We may also consider that "saraph" (שׂרף) sounds strikingly like "Sarah aph" (שׂרהואף) = "Princess also". In fact, "Sarah aph" is a homophone, or oronym of "saraph" (fiery serpent). Thus amazingly, we have in the Egyptian characters (read right to left)

Princess also On-ntr-as≈ "Princess (Katumin) also On-ntr-as (On-it-as King of Egypt)".       

Finaly, the eye hieroglyph (for good or evil) makes a sound like "ir". A Hebrew word for "city" is pronounced "r". "Ir" also sounds like "Ur", the land and city (possibly the same as Urkesh) in the land of the Kasdim. By Ptolemaic times, "Kasdim" was erroneously and anachronistically translated "Chaldees". See Genesis 11:31, KJV; Abraham 2:1, and Septuagint, Genesis XI.28, 31, where "Ur Kasdim" (Hebrew) is  rendered "land of the Chaldees" in Greek.

In relation to the topic of the daughters of Onitah in the land of the Kasdim, one may perceive in the symbols above, the subtle hint of a Hebrew term for "enemy", "adversary". This same term may be seen in 1 Shemu’El (1 Sam.) 29:4. Here the term is used in a relative sense. David was perceived as a potential "adversary" by the Pelishtim (Philistine) princes.

Moreover, the Hebrew word for "fiery serpent", "saraph" (שָׂרָף) fiery serpent, saraph sounds like "sar aph " (שַׂראאַף), meaning "angry prince (ruler)". This brings us to the tragedy of the "daughters of Onitah":

"Now, this priest [in the service of Elkenah and Pharaoh] had offered upon this altar [in the land of "Chaldea" (Kasdim)] three virgins at one time, who were the daughters of Onitah, one of the royal descent directly from the loins of Ham. These virgins were offered up because of their virtue; they would not bow down to worship gods of wood or of stone, therefore they were killed upon this altar, and it was done after the manner of the Egyptians." (Abraham 1:11)

From Nefir-ir-nabu Vignette

A portion of a vignette (upper right-hand corner) from the lady Nefir-ir-nebu's Book of the Dead (Joseph Smith Papyri). Conflating the vignette with the lady Ta-sherit-min's Book of the Dead, Oliver Cowdery alleged this vignette to be part of the biblical patriarch "Joseph's record ... a representation of the judgment: … the Savior [resurrected Osiris] seated upon his throne, crowned, and holding the sceptres [scepters] of righteousness and power, before whom also, are assembled the twelve tribes of Israel, the nations, languages and tongues of the earth, the kingdoms of the world over which satan is represented as reigning. [Prince] Michael the archangel [Maat, goddess of truth and justice, above whose hand is written "words spoken by Osiris ..."], holding the key [ankh] of the bottomless pit, and at the same time the devil as being chained and shut up in the bottomless pit." (Messenger and Advocate, "Egyptian Mummies and Ancient Records", December 1835)

Above the hand of Maat

"words spoken by Osiris ..." above the hand of the goddess of truth and justice. Vignette from the lady Nefir-ir-nebu's Book of the Dead (Joseph Smith Papyri collection).

Correlating Recognizable Egyptian with Esoteric Ahmehstrahan

words spoken by Osiris

In addition to knowing Egyptian, Hebrew, Greek, etc. the Ahmehstrahan society developed there own esoteric system of symbols. This "language" employed modified, and reinterpreted hieratic characters.

The fact that Joseph Smith gave different interpretations in relation to the same Egyptian words (e.g. "dd mdw in Wsir") shows that the Prophet's inspired lists and notes on the Ahmehstrahan language do not guarantee unequivocal, exclusive translations.

Just as Hebrew correlations can be made wth "words spoken by Osiris"; manifesting a "Prince ..." in one case, and in another case a "Princess ...", so it will be seen that in correlating the same Egyptian symbols with Ahmehstrahan, both a "princess" and a "prince" appear as potential interpretations.  

Polysemy is involved, whether we are trying to correlate Egyptian symbols with Hebrew, or Greek, or to the esoteric characters in Joseph Smith's catalog.

Do not expect Joseph Smith's Ahmehstrahan notes and lists to produce the Book of Abraham entire from symbols found in the Hor Book of Breathings, or to produce the complete Katumin Epitaph from characters appearing in the Amenhotep Book of the Dead. The Prophet's "Egyptian" material only aids in discovering transtextual correlations between Egyptian characters and the texts that he received by revelation.

See Ed Goble, "Katumin the Princess, Royal Female Lineage, and the Cobra (Iaret or Uraeus)"


Modified Hieraticis the modified symbol, or combination of symbols, shown at the commencement of the Katumin epitaph. In copying the Amenhotep text, Joseph Smith's scribe depicted the original hieratic character thus: Amenhotep character 1 It is as if the Prophet's scribe was trying to discern and copy a double serpent, or a character that looked more like this sinuous serpent (Möller, Reptilien 248), than like this dd (Möller, Reptilien 250).

The modified representation appears to be an attempt to go beyond the serpent image and embrace a serpent crested crown or tiara. At least this interpretation is compatible with hints given in the Ahmehstrahan degrees:

The following selections from Joseph Smith's Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian [Ahmehstrahan] Language appear to correlate with the modified hieratic characters associated with the revealed Katumin epitaph. These selections are featured to raise  the interest of the reader - to encourage more exhaustive exploration of Joseph Smith's Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian [Ahmehstrahan] Language.

Ho oop hah "Ho oop hah Queen Kah tou mun, a distinc tion of Royal <female> lineage or descent, from her whom Egypt was discovered while it was under water, who was the daughter of Ham.— a lineage with whom a record of the fathers was intrusted by the tradition of Ham and accord ding to the tradition of their elders; by who<m> also the tradition of the art of embalming in <was> kept." (Ahmehstrahan 5th Degree, pp. 3-4). "Ho-aop=hah. Crown of a princes[s], or unmar ried queen". (Ahmehstrahan 1st Degree, pg. 21)

Kah tou mun"Kah tou mun: a lineage with whom a record of the fathers was intrusted by tra dition of Ham, and according to the tradition of their elders, by whom also the tradition of the art of of embalming was kept." (Ahmehstrahan 5th Degree, pg. 4) "Kah tou mun. a lineage, a daughter of Ham." (Ahmehstrahan 4th Degree, pg. 9) "Kah tou mun descent from her by whom Egypt was discovered while it was under water". (Ahmehstrahan 3rd Degree, pg. 13; Abraham 1:23-24) "Kah tou mun, a distinction of royal female lineage". (Ahmehstrahan 2nd Degree, pg. 17) "Kah-tou-mun The name of a Royal family in the female line". (Ahmehstrahan 1st Degree, pg. 21)

Note that the Ahmehstrahan symbol Kah tou mun, and term "Kah tou mun" relates to "a lineage ... descent from her by whom Egypt was discovered ... a Royal family ..." Though the name sounds similar to "Katumin" (the Princess), and may in fact be that same, the symbol is not always to be interpreted as such. The symbol can also apply to a male descendent (e.g. "Prince of Pharaoh ...") of "her by whom Egypt was discovered..." 

Sue "Sue= To point out subject— that is, it signifies a combinnation of the subject: also to designate one sentence from another, ac cording to the differnt marks of punctuation signifying the whole of any thing or the whole earth" (Ahmehstrahan 5th Degree, pg. 5)

Toan "Toan low ee tahee takee toues: under the Sun: under heaven; downward; pointing downward going downward; stooping down going down in another place,= any place: going down into the grave— … coming down in lineage by royal descent, in a line by onitas one of the royal families of the Kings the of Egypt." (Ahmehstrahan 5th Degree, pg. 5)

Note: "Onitas" likely represents the Ptolemaic Ahmehstrahan pronunciation of the name "Onitah" found in scripture (i.e. the more ancient Hebraic Book of Abram).


Modified Hieratic 2

8 in Ahmehstrahan counting "a eight". (Egyptian [Ahmehstrahan] Counting, pg. 1)

Kiah broam "Kiahbroam: First reckoned in chronol= oly= coming down from the begining First born right or blessings". (Ahmehstrahan 3rd Degree, pg. 13)


Modified Hieratic 3

2 in Ahmehstrahan counting "Ni Two". (Egyptian [Ahmehstrahan] Counting, pg. 1)

Chal sidon hiash "Za Kio an-hi-ash, or Kalsidoan hiash—The land of the Chaldeans." (Egyptian [Ahmehstrahan] Alphabet, Oliver Cowdery as scribe, pg. 4)

Temple FlagN - Water Ripple

Modified Hieratic 4

Zi "Zi most virtuous, comely and beauti ful, modest and chaste, being taught most perfectly and upright." (Ahmehstrahan 5th Degree, pg. 4; Abraham 1:11) "Zi One possessing greater beauty, modesty and virtue, taught more perfectly".  (Ahmehstrahan 4th Degree, pg. 9) "Zi Affability of manners, virtuous w[e]ll taught". (Ahmehstrahan 3rd Degree, pg. 13) "Zi The principle of virtue— a young fe male adorned with the modesty of virtue and comeliness". (Ahmehstrahan 2nd Degree, pg. 17) "Zi— virgin or an u[n]married female". (Ahmehstrahan 1st Degree, pg. 21)

Zi oop hah  "Zi oop hah— A young virgin unmarried woman". (Ahmehstrahan 5th Degree, pg. 4; Abraham 1:11) "Zi oop hah a beautiful virgin, one who is fair to look upon, and ad mired for her beauty".  (Ahmehstrahan 4th Degree, pg. 9) "Zi oophah— a distinction by Pharoah a princess of Egypt." (Ahmehstrahan 3rd Degree, pg. 13) "Zi oop hah a distinction by right of heirship by Pharaoh". (Ahmehstrahan 2nd Degree, pg. 17) "Zi-aop-hah An unmarried woman, a virgin Princess". (Ahmehstrahan 1st Degree, pg. 21)

Ho e oop  "Ho-e-oop A prince of the royal blood a true desendant from Ham, the son of Noah, and inheritor of the Kingly blessings from under the hand of Noah, but not according to the priestly blessing, because of the trangrissions of Ham, which blessing fell upon Shem from under the hand of Noah". (Ahmehstrahan 5th Degree, pg. 4; Abraham 1:21-25) "Ho e-oop a prince of the royal blood".  (Ahmehstrahan 4th Degree, pg. 9) "Ho e oop— A prince of the line of the Pharoahs" (Ahmehstrahan 3rd Degree, pg. 13) "Ho e oop A virtuous prince". (Ahmehstrahan 2nd Degree, pg. 17) "Ho e oop A young unmarrid man; a prince". (Ahmehstrahan 1st Degree, pg. 21)

Note also the Ahmehstrahan princely crown symbol Lord "Ho e oop hah" which agrees with standard Egyptian crown symbols. Note also that the Ahmehtrahan symbol Ho e oop relates to the hieratic n-water ripple symboln - hieratic. This phonogram can be related to the Hebrew letter "nun" spelling "n'si" (נשׂיא), "prince". (i.e. Abraham Facsimile No. 3, Fig. 4)

Ed Goble directs our attention to the symbol serpent and crown (Möller, Reptilien 246). The Ahmehstrahans would certainly have perceived a serpent and crown, among other things, in this hieratic representation.

Zip Zi "Zip Zi: all women: it took its origin from the earth yielding its fruit. And from the first woman who bore children; and men were multiplied upon the earth, and is used in this degree as a numeral by being inserted above or below another character: it increases by b[e]ing drawn above, it and signifies above, more, greater, more glorious, and when inserted under signifies beneath less smaller least." (Ahmehstrahan 4th Degree, pg. 10) "Zip Zi— under or beneeath, second in right or in authority or Government, a fruitful place or fruitful vine". (Ahmehstrahan 3rd Degree, pg. 13) "Zipzi— a woman married or unmarried or a daughter, or mother, or mothers, and some times the first woman, who was Eve" (Ahmehstrahan 2nd Degree, pg. 18) "Zip Zi— a woman married or unmarried or daughter, signifies all, or any woman"  (Ahmehstrahan 1st Degree, pg. 21)

Su e eh ni "Su-e-eh ni: who, whence,? &c an interrogative pronoun through its degrees"  (Ahmehstrahan 1st Degree, pg. 21)

Ho e oop hah Phah eh "Hoe-oop hah phaheh: A land, Kingdom or dominion governed by wise, upright kings or rulers, or jud[g]es or governors in administring equetable laws for the benefit and comfort of the poor; charity and favor to the poor".   (Ahmehstrahan 4th Degree, pg. 10) "Ho e oop hah phah eh. The principle of rule or ruling or reigning upon the principles of Justice equity and righteousness" (Ahmehstrahan 2nd Degree, pg. 18)

Zub "Zub a road or a highway; leading up or to: the time for going up to the altar to worship: bing caught up, going to be caught up, having been caught up." (Ahmehstrahan 5th Degree, pg. 6) "Zub Having gone up to some particular place; for the act of going up to going up, climbing, ascending towards the sun" (Ahmehstrahan 4th Degree, pg. 11) "Zub— The first creation of any thing: the first institution; first principle;" (Ahmehstrahan 1st Degree, pg. 22)

Zub Zool "Zubzaol pointing to the end of a fixed period a road which leads to Some particular place: for instance: from Chaldea I travelled to dwell in the land of Canaan" (Ahmehstrahan 3rd Degree, pg. 14) "Zub Zool from the present time unto some stated period after." (Ahmehstrahan 1st Degree, pg. 28) "Zubzoal From the first to any stated period after" (Ahmehstrahan 1st Degree, pg. 22)

Ir Ws

Modified Hieratic 5

Iota toues Zip Zi "Iota toues Zip Zis: The land of Egypt which was first discovered by a woman , and afterwards settled by her Sons she being a daughter of Ham— any land over flown with water— a land seen when overflown by water:— land overflown by the seasons, land by enriched by being overflown low marshy ground." (Ahmehstrahan 5th Degree, pg. 5; Abraham 1:23-24) "Iota touer Zip Z The land of Egypt discovered by a woman, who afterwards setled persons <her sons> in it."  (Ahmehstrahan 4th Degree, pg. 10) "Iota towes Zip Zi. The women sought to settle her sons in that land. she being the daughter of Ham". (Ahmehstrahan 3rd Degree, pg. 14) "Iota toues Zip zi The land which was discovered under water by a woman". (Ahmehstrahan 2nd Degree, pg. 18) "Iota toues-Zipzi: The land of Egypt". (Ahmehstrahan 1st Degree, pg. 21)

Kli flos isis Kli flos isis: "Flos isis Flos isis— The highest degree of light, be cause its component parts are light. The gover[n]ing principle of light Because God has said Let this be the centre for light, and let there be bounds that it may not pass. He hath set a cloud round about in the heavens, and the light of the grand govering of <15> fixed stars centre there; and from there its is drawn, by the heavenly bodies according to their portions; according to the decrees that God hath set, as the bounds of the ocean, that it should not pass over as a flood, so God has set the bounds of light lest it pass over and consume the planets. Kli flosises signifies Kolob [Kolob (Ahmehstrahan symbol)] in its motion, which is swifter than the rest of the twelve ; going before, being first in motion, being delegated to have power over others. to regulate others in their time, for example. one cubit of times signifies six days therefore that which is appointed to run six days, runs one cubit according to the measure of time in cubits a cubit of motion is increased or lessened according to the sign of the degrees". (Ahmehstrahan 5th Degree, Part II, pg. 25; Abraham Facsimile No. 2, Fig. 5) "Flas-isis—The night degree of light— the cheering the face of Millions of planets Kli florsis— Measurement of time: it is used to signify twenty cubits of measure ment and is increased or lessened according to the sign of the degrees." (Ahmehstrahan 4th Degree, Part II, pg. 28) "Flos-isis, The sun in its affinity with Earth and Moon— signifying their revolutions showing the power, the one has with the other Kli flos isis= time from now unto some fixed period of time, or a thousand years one that is set a part, and chosen to be delegated, but is not yet authorised: one who is highly qualified to be delegated or authorized: or qualification" (Ahmehstrahan 3rd Degree, Part II, pg. 30) "Flos isis The King of day or the central moving planet, from which the other governing moving planets receive their light.— having a less motion— slow in its motion— The earth’s chief Joy. Kliflosisis. time from the beginging of Creation to the flood:— or from fixed per[i]od to another fixed period: a messenger having performed certain acts, having been delegated with supreme power for a fixed period of time: hereditary, coming down from father to Son: right of authority from eight days old: according to the law of priesthood" (Ahmehstrahan 2nd Degree, Part II, pg. 32) "Flos=isis: The King of day. or central moving planet, from which, those other gove[rn]ing moving planets receive their light. Kliflosisis— signifies time— now, present, any messenger, being comissioned by supreme authority." (Ahmehstrahan 1st Degree, Part II, pg. 34)

Note, from the above explanations, the relation between the cosmic governing power Kli flos isis, represented by the throne symbol Ws Kli flos isis, and the veiled, governing body Kolob KOLOB Kolob (Ahmehstrahan symbol) near the heart of celestial creation. Consider the parallel between the Eternal's creative female companion Hokhmah ("Wisdom", Mishle (Prov.) 8:1-36) and the Egyptian throne goddess Isis

Ah lish "Ah lish The first Being— supreme intillegence; supreme power; supreme glory= supreme Justice; supreme mercy without begining of life or end of life comprehending all things, seeing all things: the invisible and eter[n]al godhead." (Ahmehstrahan 5th Degree, pg. 3) "Ahlish— The first Being clothed with supreme glory.".  (Ahmehstrahan 4th Degree, pg. 9) "Ahlish. Supreme power". (Ahmehstrahan 3rd Degree, pg. 13) "Ahlish. The name of the first Being: supreme intelligence—". (Ahmehstrahan 2nd Degree, pg. 17) "Ahlish= The name of the first being". (Ahmehstrahan 1st Degree, pg. 21)

Phah eh "Phah eh. The first man, or Adam coming from Adam. Kigs or right over Patriarchal right by ap pointment." (Ahmehstrahan 5th Degree, pg. 3) "Phah=eh Kingly power coming from some other Kingly power".  (Ahmehstrahan 4th Degree, pg. 9) "Phah=eh. Kingly <power,> or first king". (Ahmehstrahan 3rd Degree, pg. 13) "Phah=eh Kingly power= or king". (Ahmehstrahan 2nd Degree, pg. 17) "Phah=eh— The first man.— Adam, first father". (Ahmehstrahan 1st Degree, pg. 21)

Phaoh "Phaah. The largest riegn, the greatest dominian, possessions or power." (Ahmehstrahan 5th Degree, pg. 3) "Phaah Extending the Dominion, possess ion and power state further."  (Ahmehstrahan 4th Degree, pg. 9) "Pha ah Havinng still greater dominion, or posse sion or Power." (Ahmehstrahan 3rd Degree, pg. 13) "Pha=ah— Having greater dominion, or possession or power." (Ahmehstrahan 2nd Degree, pg. 17) "Pha-ah— a more universel reign". (Ahmehstrahan 1st Degree, pg. 21)

Summary and Concluding Remarks:

Hebrew Abecedarius and Joseph Smith's Ahmehstrahan "translations"

א  All of the Egyptian art and symbols that Joseph Smith used to supplement the revealed text of the Book of Abraham came from more than one Egyptian papyrus. The Prophet knew this. This is why, in his introduction to the scripture  "purporting to be ... the BOOK OF ABRAHAM", the Prophet used the description "A TRANSLATION Of some ancient Records [plural] ... from the Catacombs of Egypt ..."

The Egyptian trappings do not date back to the prophet Abram, but more nearly fit Ptolemaic times. During this time period, translators at Alexandria, Egypt were hard at work on the Greek translation of Hebrew scripture, the Septuagint. They had a Greek speaking audience in mind. Did the  Ptolemaic Ahmehstrahans similarly have a goy audience in mind? Is this one of the reasons that anachronistic, quasi Egyptian things were added to the Book of Abram?

Surprisingly, after much annoyance, controversy, and conflict the things of the Ahmehstrahans augmenting the Sepher Avram, are seen to evince Joseph Smith's prophetic connections.

But the two-edged sword of truth cuts both ways. It divides asunder the erroneous tradition that a papyrus scroll of the Book of Abraham arrived in Ohio with mummies.

Joseph Smith's definition of "translation" is a prophet's definition. What is really going on with the Book of Abraham is perhaps better described (academically) as transtextual correlation. Even this terminology falls short of describing transcendent connections between the ancient writings of Abram and more recent Egyptian funerary texts.

The act of interpreting a text draws on things beyond the text itself, and it can be argued that no work is the work of one author.  Could it be that certain writings are guided by higher intelligence, that is, by consciousness that human authors may or may not be conscious of?

"And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong unto God?" (Genesis 40:8, KJV) "He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness and the light dwelleth with him." (Daniel 2:22. KJV)

ב   Bereshit (Gen.) 17:5 explains that the name "Avram" ("Exalted Father") with the divine addition of the letter "hey" (ה), was changed to "Avraham" because he (the Hebrew prophet) was to become an "Av" (אב), or "father" of "hamon goyim", "many nations". 

It may also be that by bestowing upon the Hebrew prophet part of the divine name (changing his name), God (אל) was putting his son (בּן) in his place. The Eternal is truly AV RAM. (Yesha’Yahu (Is.) 63:16)

The Prophet Joseph Smith's amplification of the Sepher Avram may be seen to represent a broadening of the audience, an outreach to include the nations foretold in Avraham's later, greater blessing. This inspired work thus truly became a "Book of Abraham", "father of goyim", having a version of the ancient original Sepher Avram at its heart.

Transtextual correlations between Egyptian symbols and Joseph Smith's revealed texts can be compared to acrostic Hebrew scripture. In the case of the Book of Abraham there are thematic, or subject correlations between esoteric interpretations of Egyptian symbols, and portions of the scriptural text. In acrostic alphabetical poetry, the letters of an alphabet (in regular order), correlate with the first letter of the first word, commencing each portion of text (for instance in a psalm, proverb or lamentation).

Not all acrostic alphabetical psalms in the Bible succeed in having a perfect correspondence, in regular order, with letters of the aleph-bet. Take for instance Tehilim (Psalms) 9; 25; 34; 37. Its hard to believe that a psalm is written in the form of an abecedarius only to serve as a mnemonic device. No one expects the alphabetical symbols themselves to be sufficient to supply the whole text. It is as if the writer is moved upon to return a literary bread offering to God (an abecedarian psalm, proverb or lamentation) based in part on grain (the aleph-bet) which is acknowledged to have come from God.

Tehilah (Ps.) 119 is a prime example of a Hebrew abecedarius. Without inspiration the symbols of the Aleph-bet alone could not produce this psalm. Likewise, symbols from the first few lines of the Hor Book of Breathings could never produce the Book of Abraham, nor the first four words of the Amenhotep Book of the Dead reveal the epitaph of Princess Katumin.

It takes inspiration to bring forth the rest, and inspiration suggests an author apart from the author. That's transtextuality.

On this subject of writing being a divine gift, it happens that the name of the first letter of the ancient Egyptian "alphabet" relates to the moon god Thoth, slayer of serpents. The Greeks identified Thoth as Hermes, "father of letters". Some have associated this first letter by evolution of appearance (not phonetically) with the Greek and Coptic letter α, A. (Gaudard, "Between Heaven and Earth - Birds in Ancient Egypt", Oriental Institute Museum Publications 35, the Oriental Institute, Chicago, edited by Rozenn Bailleul-Lesuer, 2013) 

Is it only coincidence that the first word spelled in the Aleph-bet is "AV" (אב)?

"... behold, all things are written by the Father; therefore out of the books which shall be written shall the world be judged." (3 Nephi 27:26)


On to Abraham in Egypt and the Papyrus Solar Ferry


Esoteric Egyptian in the Margins of the Book of Abraham


Joseph Smith’s Book of the Dead Hypocephalus


Esoteric Egyptian in Facsimile No. 2


TETRAGRAMMATEarth in her four quartersN and EARTH    




Vincent Coon וִנְסֶנְטיכּוּן © Copyright 2017


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