Each sin listed was thought to have disrupted one's harmony and balance while one lived and separated the person from their purpose on earth as ordained by the gods. In claiming purity of the soul, one was asserting that one's heart was not weighed down with sin.
It was not the soul's claim to purity which would win over Osiris, however, but, instead, the weight of the soul's heart. If the soul's heart was lighter than the feather then the gods conferred with the Forty-Two Judges and, if they agreed that the soul was justified, the person could pass on toward the bliss of the Field of Reeds. According to some ancient texts, the soul would then embark on a dangerous journey through the afterlife to reach paradise and they would need a copy of the Egyptian Book of the Dead to guide them and assist them with spells to recite if they ran into trouble.
According to others, however, after justification it was only a short journey from the Hall of Truth to paradise. The soul would leave the hall of judgment, be rowed across Lily Lake, and enter the eternal paradise of the Field of Reeds in which one received back everything taken by death. For the soul with the heart lighter than a feather, those who had died earlier were waiting along with one's home, one's favorite objects and books, even one's long lost pets. Should the heart prove heavier, however, it was thrown to the floor of the Hall of Truth where it was devoured by Amenti also known as Amut , a god with the face of a crocodile, the front of a leopard and the back of a rhinoceros, known as "the gobbler".
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Once Amenti devoured the person's heart, the individual soul then ceased to exist. It is a popular misconception that the ancient Egyptians were obsessed with death when, in reality, they were in love with life and so, naturally, wished it to continue on after bodily death. The Egyptians enjoyed singing, dancing, boating, hunting, fishing and family gatherings just as people enjoy them today.
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The most popular drink in ancient Egypt was beer which, although considered a food consumed for nutritional purposes, was also enjoyed at the many celebrations Egyptians observed throughout the year. Drunkenness was not considered a sin as long as one consumed alcohol at an appropriate time for an appropriate reason. Sex, whether in marriage or out, was also viewed liberally as a natural and enjoyable activity. The elaborate funerary rites, mummification, and the placement of Shabti dolls were not meant as tributes to the finality of life but to its continuance and the hope that the soul would win admittance to the Field of Reeds when the time came to stand before the scales of Osiris.
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The funerary rites and mummification preserved the body so the soul would have a vessel to emerge from after death and return to in the future if it chose to visit earth. One's tomb, and statuary depicting the deceased, served as an eternal home for the same reason - so the soul could return to earth to visit - and shabti dolls were placed in a tomb to do one's work in the afterlife so that one could relax whenever one wished. When the funeral was over, and all the prayers had been said for the safe travel of the departed, survivors could return to their homes consoled by the thought that their loved one was justified and would find joy in paradise.
Even so, not all the prayers nor all the hopes nor the most elaborate rites could help that soul whose heart was heavier than the white feather of truth. Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication. We're a small non-profit organisation run by a handful of volunteers. Become a Member. Mark, J. Ancient History Encyclopedia.
Mark, Joshua J. Last modified March 30, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 30 Mar Submitted by Joshua J. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. Mark published on 30 March Remove Ads Advertisement.
The 'heart' of the soul was handed over to Osiris who placed it on a great golden scale balanced against the white feather of Ma'at, the feather of truth.
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Bibliography Bunson, M. The Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. Gramercy Books, David, R. Religion and Magic in Ancient Egypt.
Penguin Books, Faulkner, R. The Egyptian Book of the Dead. Chronicle Books, Ikram, S. Death and Burial in Ancient Egypt.inilorin.tk
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The American University in Cairo Press, Nardo, D. Living in Ancient Egypt. Pinch, G. It makes the marriage gainful, better; it benefits the marriage. View our sermons.
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