Ha

Ha personifies the western desert, both in a literal, geographical sense, and as the land of the setting sun and hence of spiritualization. Ha is depicted anthropomorphically, wearing the hieroglyphic sign for ‘desert’ or ‘foreign lands’ on his head (three hills) and carrying a knife or bow, at once reflecting the harshness of the land and the warlike nature Egyptians attributed to its people and representing the defense of Egypt from its enemies to the west. In utterance 610 of the Pyramid Texts, however, Ha is already associated with the west in a more symbolic sense: “O earth, hear this which the Gods have said, which Horus said when he made a spirit of his father as Ha, as Min, and as Sokar.” Here Horus represents the ritual operator who ‘spiritualizes’ the deceased into the forms of the deities named. Ha is frequently invoked in contexts where the cardinal points are being secured, or wherever the direction of the west needs to be indicated; hence in CT spell 162, the West Wind is the brother of Ha. In this same spell, either the West Wind alone, or Ha as well, if we may take the fraternal relationship so far, is stated to be “the offspring of Iaaw,” who is possibly mentioned again in CT spells 170 and 341. In CT 313, a spell for being transformed into a falcon, Thoth affirms to the operator that “Those who shall come against you from the West shall be doomed to Ha, Lord of the West.” CT 636, “Ha in the west” is invoked, along with “Soped in the east” and “Dedwen in Zety-land” (i.e. the south), in order to bring to the operator his/her ka or double in the netherworld. The netherworld ferry-boat in CT spell 398 has for its bow-piece the brow of Ha (possibly because it is paradigmatically headed west). On the other hand, the fisher boat from which the deceased requires protection has for its adze, chisel and saw “what is on the mouth of Ha” (CT spell 479). In CT spell 545 Hathor is invoked to protect one from the “constriction” or “deprivation” of Ha. When Ha is hostile, it is presumably as a personification of the desert as such. By contrast, the operator affirms in CT spell 695, a spell for “burial in the West as a blessed one, <and for> quelling strife in order that he may go down to his possessions which belong to the West [i.e., to the land of the dead],” that “I am the child of Ha in his desert … My seat is his desert, the western desert is my horizon, and I am among those who are in it, the kings of Egypt.” Here the geography of the west, as the site of desert nomads as well as the rich royal tombs, converges with its spiritual function as the netherworld. In CT spell 36, it is said of the deceased that “He knows those two sentences which Ha spoke to Him on whom is the ram’s head,” in which the ram-headed God to whom Ha speaks is not identified, although the same term which is – not without some uncertainty – translated by Faulkner as “ram’s head” here occurs again in spell 163, where it is said that the West Wind is the offspring of “him who is in the ram’s head, who came forth from between the thighs of the West, who makes a butchery of the herds reserved for offering.”

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