Hennu and Solar Boats “Symbol of the Afterlife Journey” was a symbol of the god Seker of Memphis. Depending on the era or the prevailing dynasty of Egypt, the hennu boat sailed toward either dawn or dusk. In the Pyramid Texts of Unas (PT 214, 138c) one of the steps the deceased had to take, after leaving his property to his son, after purifying himself, etc. was: You will descend on ropes of bronze, in the arms of Horus as his name is “Being in the Hennu barque.” On the holiday of the god Seker, a stone—possibly a representation of the god—was put on the Hennu barque and pulled with a sled over the fields, while people followed it wearing garlands of onions. A harpist’s song from the tomb of Djehutimes (TT 32) describes the practice as follows: [He] pulled [So]kar by placing the Hennu barque on its sled, going around the walls with his following. At times the Hennu barque was identified with Seker himself, as in pKairo CG 51189 (pYuya) where it is stated: I have appeared as Hennu. which is followed two lines below by this passage: I have appeared as Sokar.

Hennu and Solar Boats "Symbol of the Afterlife Journey"
Hennu and Solar Boats “Symbol of the Afterlife Journey”

According to Egyptian myth, when Ra became too old and weary to reign on earth he relinquished and went to the skies.[1] Ra was said to travel through the sky on the barge, providing light to the world.[2] Each twelfth of his journey formed one of the twelve Egyptian hours of the day, each overseen by a protective deity. When the sun set and twilight came he and his vessel passes through the akhet, the horizon, in the west, and travel to the underworld. Af or Afu (commonly known as Afu-Ra), the ram-headed form of Ra when traveling the Duat (the 12 hours of night and the underworld) on the Mesektet barque along with Sia (left and front of barque) and Heka (right and behind of barque), surrounded by the protective coiled serpent deity Mehen. At times the horizon is described as a gate or door that leads to the Duat. There he would have to sail on the subterrestrial Nile and cross through the twelve gates and regions, with each hour of the night considered a gate overseen by twelve more protective deities. Every night enormous serpent Apophis, the god of chaos (isfet) attempted to attack Ra and stop the sun-boat’s journey. After defeating the snake, Ra would leave the underworld, returning emerging at dawn, lighting the day again.