Ancient Egyptian Afterlife - the journey begins.
How important was the ancient Egyptian afterlife?
Here's two signs that they took it rather seriously.
1. Massive amounts of manpower, economy and time were spent on building pyramids that loomed larger than life on the Egyptian landscape, when essentially they were gigantic tombs.
2. Mummification was an elaborate and costly procedure that was far more involved than today's comparatively simple funerals.
So why did the Egyptians go to so much trouble when someone died?
What was it that they were preparing for?
Let's explore what the Egyptians believed happened after death.
The ancient Egyptians believed in the body having a Ka, or spirit and after death the body would be reunited with the Ka. But only with the right procedures and spells in place.
After death the deceased faces a panel of judges where they will account for their time on earth.
He is then led by Anubis, the jackal-faced god, to the scales where his heart will be weighed against the feather of Maat, the Goddess of Truth and Justice. This is perhaps the most important trial in the deceased journey and is well documented in illustrations in Ancient texts.
If the heart outweighs the feather it is heavy with the evil doings of the deceased. This outcome is not a good one and the heart of the deceased will be devoured in the jaws of Amuut and he will face an eternity of oblivion.
If the heart does not outweigh the feather, the deceased will be able to pass through to Osiris. Illustrations on funerary scenes show that an Ibis-headed god, Thoth, is recording the results.
It is Horus that leads the deceased through to Osiris. Osiris waits with Isis and Nephthys and greets the deceased into the afterlife.
The deceased would now continue to live in the afterworld as they did in life. Their possessions would make the journey too, which is why the tombs were full of items important too the individual.
Food would be provided to provide nourishment to the deceased.
Spells were needed from the Book of the Dead. These were essential to pass through the many obstacles sent to test the deceased as they transitioned from life to death and then back to life again.
Eventually, they could continue to enjoy life as an invisible spirit moving among the living, but without the pain and hardships of the living world.
It seems that an ancient Egyptian afterlife was something to look forward to.
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