|“||The Duat is the world of spirits and magic. It exists beneath the waking world like a vast ocean, with many layers and regions.||”|
The Duat exists beneath the surface of the "waking world" (the mortal realm) like lava beneath the earth's crust. By submerging just under the surface, one may travel great distances in a short amount of time. A magician enters the shallowest portion of the Duat when they sleep and the ba is shown to travel into the Duat during dreams. When gods are "banished" or defeated/killed in the mortal world, they return to the Duat, except much weaker and deeper, until they have enough strength to escape. Items may also be stored in the Duat until they are desired again. When they are in their full power gods seem to be stronger in the Duat. Magic is stronger in the Duat. A portal leading into the Duat glows purple, as opposed to a swirling sand vortex.
The Duat is broken into many different layers including the Abyss (presumably the deepest layer), the River of Night, the Land of the Dead, and the Land of Demons. Traversing through the layers causes a tingling feeling in your stomach, alike to riding a roller coaster.
River of Night
A river that is every river and no river. It exists as a shadow or counterpart of all the rivers in the world and is filled with dark, murky water. It traverses the Duat and has many branches and tributaries as it represents every river on Earth. In ancient times, Ra would travel through the river on his sunboat and bring light and warmth to the souls that could not find their way to the Hall of Judgment. It flows through the Land of the Dead, Land of Demons, and the Twelve Houses.
Land of the Dead
The Land of the Dead is located within the Duat. Anubis, Osiris, and Ammit the Devourer reside here with all the dead and it is protected by Shezmu. The Land of the Dead can be navigated by using Spells of Coming Forth by Day (also known as The Book of the Dead). It includes the First Cataract, the Lake of Fire, the Hall of Judgment, and the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Houses.
The entrance to the Land of the Dead, it is marked by large, jagged rocks in the river. It is guarded by Shezmu and those who wish to pass must speak his secret name.
Lake of Fire
A steaming lake of rapids, resembling the surface of the sun. It smells of petrol, rotted meat and burnt sugar. Not sure where the sugar came from though. There are two entrances, the Gates of the West and the waterfall. The Fourth House lies on its banks. It was here where Ra was renewed.
Gates of the West
The gate that Ra's sunboat would pass through, renewing itself in the Lake of Fire before passing through the Gates of the East and beginning a new day.
Hall of Judgment
A temple that sits on an island in the center of the lake of fire, this is the place that the souls of the dead seek. The temple contains Osiris's throne and a set of scales on which the Feather of Truth and the deceased's heart is weighed. If the heart is unworthy, it is eaten by Ammit the Devourer. If the heart is worthy, the soul may pass to the Seventh House, Aaru (Paradise). The Hall fell into disrepair during Osiris's absence, despite Anubis's efforts to keep it functional. It is often linked to a real-world location that its current owner holds a love for. In Anubis's case, it is a New Orleans graveyard. For Julius Kane, it is his family home in California.
Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Houses
The Fifth and Sixth Houses is where the lost souls reside. The Seventh House is where the worthy souls reside. *See Houses of the Night (below) for more information.*
Land of Demons
Homeland of demons. Is somewhere on the River of Night near the end of Ra's nightly journey, presumably in one of the last Houses. It has armies of demons fighting, building structures and tearing them down. Is always changing and is very hard to navigate unless you are a demon that knows your way around or can read the map in The Book of Thoth. Held the sheut of Apophis and the Sea of Chaos with the obelisk symbolizing Ma'at.
Sea of Chaos
The primordial sea from which all creation came from, symbolized by an obelisk rising out of the waves. Called Nun in Ancient Egypt and personified as a god. Made of fire, mist, or water; impossible to tell. Made of grayish-red matter that churns, boils, and smokes, like your stomach does when you see it. It smells like ozone, car exhaust, and formaldehyde mixed together. It has no end and sucks everything in. Apophis's shadow resided there, pinned by the obelisk; namely the representation of Ma'at itself.
Possibly the second deepest part of the Duat, where Apophis was imprisoned by Khepri (another form of Ra), and where he battled Bast. The Chaotic energy is so powerful, mortals can't leave alive. While it is unknown where it is, it is probably near or within the infinite Sea of Chaos as it is noted to be very deep within the layers of the Duat
The Houses of the Night
Where Ra begins his nightly journey. Carter and Sadie confronted Nekhbet and Babi and the sun boat was docked here. Can only be entered in the First Hour of the Night (sunset).
Second and Third Houses
Nothing much happens here. The river is dark and has minimal visibility.
Also known as the House of Rest and Sunny Acres. Under management of Tawaret, a crew of shabti, and servant lights. Lies on banks of the Lake of Fire. Guarded by Khnum. Now that Ma'at is restored and Ra is back, it's unknown if Khnum still guards the gates of the Fourth House, since he is one of Ra's aspects, he must be traveling with him again in Ra's sun boat in the nightly journeys.
Fifth and Sixth Houses
This is where the Lost and Confused reside, spirits who never found their way to the Hall of Judgement. They rejoice in the light of Ra. They take the form of ghostly apparitions on villages by the beach or confused ba bonking around in caves. A few serpents live in the water here.
Also known as the House of Osiris and Aaru (Paradise). Ra's pit stop, where he ate and rested with Osiris. This is where the worthy souls enter and reside. Viewed a little different by every soul.
Also known as the House of Challenges. To Carter and Sadie, it wasn't very challenging since they had lost Bes to Khonsu and were empowered by their rage. Can only be entered in the Eighth Hour of the Night.
Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Houses
Nothing much is mentioned about these houses. Carter says they passed in a blur.
Final House. Statue of Nut at entrance. Can only be exited at dawn. Apophis made the river lead to his prison instead of out to the mortal world. The original route was fixed when Apophis was execrated. This is when Ra came out it revitalizes magicians and saved the Brooklyn House. Apparently it can exit anywhere Ra or the person in charge of the sun boat chooses as in The Throne of Fire it exits in New York and in The Serpent's Shadow it exits in Egypt, both times close to where the boat's passengers needed to go.
- Traveling through the Duat is quicker than in the mortal world. Magicians can access this layer and travel great distances by using magic or by sleeping without magical protection. This layer is just under the surface of the Duat. Eerie whispers and voices are heard, as well as clouds of mist and a tingling feeling in your stomach, like when free-falling in a roller coaster. This is very similar to shadow traveling from the Percy Jackson and The Heroes of Olympus series.
- Magicians and gods can store items in the Duat, which can be used to avoid metal detectors and to transport or hide large or secret things. Bast mentions that there is no guarantee that items can be retrieved later. Sadie has trouble with storing items in the Duat and taking them out, while Carter seems to have mastered it. It is possible that Combat Magicians have a better grasp on this trick or this trick is part of Combat Magic, as demonstrated by several Combat Magicians like Bast, Horus, etc. This layer may be the same as the layer mentioned above, as Carter once retrieved his lost sword from Luxor. It is just underneath the surface of the mortal world.
- Looking into the Duat can reveal the magical equivalent of an entity in the real world and acts as a sort of mirror to real world events. This layer is presumably deep in the Duat as it is accessible even while in the Duat. Sadie mentions that "Best-case scenario, you'll get mildly nauseous. Worst-case scenario, your brain will explode." Hieroglyphs can be written on a magician's cheekbones to aid in this trick. It seems to be natural to Sadie, who is a Divine magician (natural at magic) and tricky to guard (combat) magicians; vice versa to the situation above. It is used for surveillance magic. Examples include: demons as fiery spirits, gods and magicians as glowing spirits, host of gods as gods "true" form, and combat avatars as giant hybrid form of a god.
- In The Crown of Ptolemy, it is revealed that the Mist from the Camp Half-Blood series is in fact the uppermost layer of the Duat.