Ancient Egyptians believed that upon death
they would be asked two questions
and their answers would determine
whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife.
The first question was, “Did you bring joy?”
The second was, “Did you find joy?”
~ Leo Buscaglia ~
The picture above depicts an Egyptian funeral scene. When you arrived at your reward in afterlife you needed a pure heart and the ability to recite formulas, spells and poetry from the Book of the Dead. If you passed, your ka (double body) and ba (personality) would go to the Kingdom of the Dead and the soul would dwell in the Fields of Aaru.
In the Hall of Two Truths (shown above) your heart was weighed against the Shu feather of truth and justice. If it was lighter you passed on, if it was heavier (with sin) it was devoured by the demon Ammut (he of crocodile head and hippopotamus legs).
The deceased must also face a panel of 14 judges to make account of their life. The deceased will then be led by Horus to his father Osiris (the God of the Dead)
Egyptian life was inextricably connected with the belief that life continued after death, life was dominated by the Goddess Ma’at and different levels of good and evil were ever present within life. Without these beliefs we’d have none of the ancient ruins and relics left by this awesome civilization which are mainly giant and elaborate tombs (the Great Pyramids of Giza for example). Their believes in death have led us to understand much more about how they lived and opened a fascinating doorway into the highly advanced, ancient Egyptian world.
How much of our own lives, societies and cultures, are influenced by the traditions of Ancient Egypt? Their Gods and death rituals worshiped and adhered to some 4000 years ago? And poignantly, how much have we forgotten along the way?
But the greatest question remains “Did you find joy?”
For more information try the Book of the Dead, which is quite heavy going.
Here is a fascinating programme made by Graham Hancock, relating to Ancient Egypt and a lost civilisation, a golden age, some 10,500 years ago. Just after the last ice age; giant pages of history unfolding before our eyes. How lucky we are to be here now with all this!