Ra was the most important Ancient Egyptian deity and has expression in multiple forms, acting in the heavens, on earth, in the underworld, as the creator and as father to the king, but always associated with the sun. Ra's primary icon was the fiery disk of the sun, usually encircled by a protective cobra (uraeus) and often with outstretched wings or rays. Anthropomorphically, Ra was expressed as a man with the head of a falcon, ram or scarab beetle. He was also depicted as a falcon wearing the sun's disk, or as a ram, scarab beetle, phoenix, heron, serpent, bull, cat, lion or flying vulture. His three primary expressions were the morning sun as a scarab beetle, the noon day sun as the solar disk, and the setting sun as a ram-headed man.
Within the circular image are compartments containing hieroglyphic text and figures which are typically extracts from Chapter CLXII of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. P. J. de Horrack stated that the scenes portrayed in hypocephali relate in all their details to the resurrection and the renewed birth after death...symbolized by the course of the Sun, the living image of divine generation. The circle is divided to represent two celestial hemispheres and the cycle of renewal.
There is still some ambiguity regarding how these Egyptian names and text may have been pronounced.
The numbers labeling the figures were added to correspond to explanations of the images and text given by Joseph Smith.
The central figure wears the undulating horns of the Ovis longpipes ram, which is symbolic of Khnum, the first creator god. Khnum was the potter who molded the souls and bodies of all living things from the clay of the earth, and gave them the breath of life. He was described as the "ba" (spiritual force) of Re, The head of the figure is atypically offset to the right. The crouching body is a typical hieroglyphic pose for the god. !
The characters above and to the left of the head are three ripples of water, a pennant and a single diagonal stroke.
Triple ripples (mw) indicate a mass of water. Similar to the double ripples of (nn) Nun, the "Primeval Waters" or state of being before creation. Described in An's mythological cycle as "the waters," Nun lay inert, unending and indefinite, until Tem "rises" and "throws off" the waters to begin the act of creation. Nun is a "primordial soup" from which the Self-Created god drew the materials to create its children Shu and Tefnut (air and moisture, the Biblical "firmament"), Who then created Geb (earth) and Nut (sky).
An ideographic reading of these symbols would be; The spirit of god rippling the waters.
Left of center is the was scepter, or DJAM scepter, which are symbols of serenity or strength.
To the left, above the scepter, are characters that may be irrigated land, force or effort, and one cubit.
On either side are baboons (22 and 23) with upraised arms, wearing the lunar disk headdress, representing the god Thoth or Djehuty. He was often placed opposite Re as a kind of "night sun" and was associated with truth and integrity, regulating time, record keeping and possession of secret knowledge. Thoth provided Isis with the word formula she needed to resurrect Osiris.
Adjacent to the baboons are two snakes. The primeval serpent "Iru-to" which also represents the creator of the earth. In the Pyramid Texts 1146 Iru-to says; "I am the scribe of the Divine Book which says what has been and effect what is yet to be.
Joseph Smith explained this figure as; "Kolob, signifying the first creation, nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God. First in government, the last pertaining to the measurement of time. The measurement according to celestial time, which celestial time signifies one day to a cubit. One day in Kolob is equal to a thousand years according to the measurement of this earth, which is called by the Egyptians Jah-oh-eh."
The standing figure has a double ram's head with undulating horns and wears the double crown, symbolic of Amun, god of creation. On his shoulders are jackal heads. In his left hand is the staff of Wepwawet and to the right is an offering stand.
Plutarch quoted Manetho as saying that Amun meant "that which is concealed. Amun spoke his own name and brought forth the land of Egypt from the primordial sea (nun). In ancient Egypt it was believed that the gods had a secret name. Knowledge of this name gave others power over them. This figure is very similar to one in the same position on the Hypocephalus of Tashenkhons. with the exception of lacking the ankh symbol, orientation of the figure and the associated text.
This reading identifies/represents the name of the god without actually writing it, similar to the use of YHWH in Hebrew texts.
Joseph Smith stated that this figure; "Stands next to Kolob, called by the Egyptians Oliblish, which is the next grand governing creation near to the celestial or the place where God resides; holding the key of power also, pertaining to other planets; as revealed from God to Abraham, as he offered sacrifice upon an altar, which he had built unto the Lord."
A solar barque carries the seated falcon headed Horus, holding a scepter. The solar disk is over his head. A divine Eye of Ra is on either side.
Also on the barque is an offering stand. On some hypocephali the characters to the left are
dp.t ntr, which would translate as "Divine Ship". but in this case they may be ideograms for a lotus flower (ssn) or grass (hn), a vaulted covering (ipt), a snake (similar to the one found at the foot of figure 23) (it 'father'?) and a sealed papyrus roll (md3t).
In the religious tradition of ancient Heliopolis, Ra emerged from the petals of a lotus blossom which re-enfolded him each night. The lotus was also a symbol of rebirth associated with Osiris. The Book of the Dead contains spells for "transforming oneself into a lotus", fulfilling the promise of resurrection. According to the Pyramid Texts the snake Iru-to was the scribe of the Divine Book which said what has been and effects what is yet to be.
A falcon, representing Horus, 'lord of the sky', sitting on a mummy case, with outstreatched wings, sitting upon a papyrus boat. This image is similar to the one in the same panel from the hypocephalus of Tashenkhons, with the exception of the rudder and text.
A cow, representing Hathor, who was the goddess of the sky, home of the great falcon. Behind is a standing female figure with the Eye of Ra depicted on her head and holding out a papyrus stem in her left hand. This image is similar to the one in the same panel from the hypocephalus of Tashenkhons,.
Four standing mummiform figures, representing the four sons of Horus (left to right); Imsety, Hapy, Duamutef and Qebesenuef, with the heads of a human, baboon, jackal, and falcon, who were associated with the south, north, east and west. They were the patron gods of the liver, lungs, stomach and intestines of the deceased and were protected by Isis, Nephthys, Neith and Serket. The figures behind them are typically a lotus stem (h3), lion and ram.
A seated figure with the tail of a falcon, symbolic of the supreme celestial deity, with a human head and a pharonic beard. This figure has been identified with Min, a predynastic god who was usually depicted as a mummy wrapped ithyphallic man with his legs bound together, wearing a twin plumed crown with long streamers and with his arm raised to the square, a gesture identified as the Sign of Preservation. Behind his head is an inverted V. A right angle projects to the right of the shoulder. To the left is a figure with a bird's head, presenting the Eye of Ra. In the hypocephalus of Tashenkhons, the figure on the left is Nehebu-Kau, whose name meant "he who harnesses the spirits" and the inverted V is a flail, symbolic of provenance.
One third of the rim contains characters taken from another papyrus. Michael D. Rhodes provided a possible reading of the text in its original state:
"I am the Provider in the Sun Temple in Heliopolis. [I am] most exalted and very glorious. [I am] a virile bull without equal. [I am] that Mighty God in the Sun Temple in Heliopolis. <May the Osiris Shishaq live forever> with that Mighty God in Heliopolis."