In the Map Room, the Staff of Ra lights up the whole chamber, wherein there is a replica of the ancient city itself. Anubis figures prominently on the wall. Anubis is associated with embalming in Egyptology and the realm of the dead, and thus corresponds to Cerberus. He is also associated with Sirius, the “Dog Star,” as the gatekeeper for Osiris (Osiris is the god of the dead). Plato has Socrates saying, “by the dog of Egypt”, “by the dog, the god of the Egyptians” (Gorgias, 482b). Thus Ra – Sun/Atum – light – all have a crucial significance here, as Indy receives light by which he is led from superstition, through the use of reason, do divine truth in the one true God. Earlier we had seen the golden skull sun imagery in South America, and in the Map Room Indy becomes enveloped in light. The entire scene is like a Masonic ceremony where the initiate seeks “light.” Indy, like Moses, has now known the “mysteries of Egypt.” (see Acts 7:22). An obelisk is also visible. Psalm 18. Later that evening Indy and Sallah open the Well of Souls to discover the Ark to be surrounded by Indy’s own great fear, snakes.
The Well of Souls is the Egyptian Underworld – with Anubis there as gatekeeper. Snakes bring to mind the Garden of Eden and the serpent in Genesis, and like Adam, Indy is confronted in the presence of the Ark by snakes. Many writers have noted the similarity of the Temple of God to the temples of Egypt and Babylonia. Anubis is again visible as a large, double-statue guard of the Ark. Indy knocks down the Anubi (plural for Anubis I assume) in a scene that reminds one of the situation of the Ark and the Philistine god Dagon. The power of God caused Dagon to fall before the Ark, just as here, Anubis falls. The Jewish Encyclopedia describes of the event:
“The Philistines took the Ark to several places in their country, and at each place misfortune resulted to them (ib. v. 1-6). At Ashdod it was placed in the temple of Dagon. The next morning Dagon was found prostrate before it; and on being restored to his place, he was on the following morning again found prostrate and broken. The people of Ashdod were smitten with boils (Hebr. , A. V. “emrods”—that is, hemorrhoids); and a plague of mice was sent over the land (ib. vi. 5; the Septuagint, v. 6). The affliction of boils was also visited upon the people of Gath and of Ekron, whither the Ark was successively removed (ib. v. 8-12). After the Ark had been among them seven months, the Philistines, on the advice of their diviners, returned it to the Israelites, accompanying its return with an offering consisting of golden images of the boils and mice with which they had been afflicted. The Ark was put down in the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite, and the Beth-shemites offered sacrifices and burnt offerings (ib. vi. 1-15). Out of curiosity the men of Beth-shemesh gazed at [A. V. “looked into”] the Ark; and as a punishment over fifty thousand of them were smitten by the Lord (ib. 19). The Bethshemites sent to Kirjath-jearim, or Baal-Judah, to have the Ark removed (ib. 21); and it was taken thither to the house of Abinadab, whose son Eleazar was sanctified to keep it (ib. vii. 1). Kirjath-jearim was the abode of the Ark for twenty years (ib. 2). Under Saul the Ark was with the army before he first met the Philistines, but the king was too impatient to consult it before engaging in the battle (ib. xiv. 18, 19). In I Chron. xiii. 3 it is stated that the people were not accustomed to consult the Ark in the days of Saul.”
Another sun image when they emerge from the Well/Underworld. Indy has undergone a ritual death-enlightenment-burial-resurrection like Osiris (masonry). From there, Indy rides a submarine (somehow?) to a Nazi secret island off of Greece. One thinks of the use of Phraxos (based on Spetses) by Nazis John Fowles’ The Magus, as well as the secret Nazi base in the Antarctic. The Nazis lead a kind of ritual exodus procession like the Jews, and attempt to engineer the use of the Ark in a test run, only to discover that it is not a magical talisman as even the apostate Israelites thought. The Ark ends up in a huge facility somewhere like Area 51, supposedly housing craters full of secrets.
The lightning storm cloud of God comes (Psalm 18) when Indy finds the actual well of souls, and foreshadows the final scene where the Nazis get zapped. Psalm 18 describes in figurative language the presence of God:
13The Lord thundered from heaven, And the Most High uttered His voice, Hailstones and coals of fire.
14 He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe, Lightnings in abundance, and He vanquished them.
15 Then the channels of the sea were seen, The foundations of the world were uncovered.
At Your rebuke, O Lord, At the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.”